MEDIA RELEASE: SHARP investment in Social Housing will create one thousand jobs

New modelling released by National Shelter in partnership with the Community Housing Industry Association demonstrates how investment in a four-year social housing program will complement the McGowan Government’s housing investment package and focus on economic and social recovery initiatives.

State Treasury is forecasting Western Australia Gross State Product will decline by 5.1 per cent in the June quarter 2020 and a further by 3.1 per cent in 2020-21. This coupled with the construction industry’s forecast of a halving of construction value across the national economy, investment in SHARP – a Social Housing Acceleration and Renovation Program – will provide much-needed jobs to drive the economic and social recovery across Western Australia and address the shocking waitlist for social housing.

Michelle Mackenzie, Shelter WA CEO stated:

“This modelling shows that 30,000 newly homes built across Australia creates almost 30,000 individual jobs (based on up to 18,000 FTEs) nationwide. For Western Australia, the modelling shows that the output effect on the economy ranges between $548M to $617M from an investment in over 1,000 new homes in Western Australia.

“The bringing forward of the McGowan Government’s $150M investment in social housing is a welcomed step in the recovery response to COVID-19, and if this was coupled with the SHARP national investment in social housing in WA, the estimated 1,000 jobs created by the McGowan investment could be tripled.”

Building homes has a wide-reaching impact beyond creating direct jobs on site. It stimulates the whole supply chain creating multiplier effects through local and regional economies and communities, whilst creating the homes that people need to thrive.

The economics of this type of investment speaks for itself – this investment goes some way to ensuring that all Western Australians have a place to call home, more investment is needed to address the existing crisis and the current 39,200 social homes needed to meet current demand.*

The Western Australian Community housing sector is well placed to drive this initiative in partnership with the State Government and the construction industry. The sector has planned maintenance and refurbishments programs ready to go, along with shovel-ready projects and longer-term development projects in the pipeline. This includes energy efficient initiatives that deliver positive environmental outcomes and reduce the costs of running a home, which is especially important for low income households.

The benefits of harnessing the community housing organisations is that this investment stays in the Western Australian housing system and are wide-ranging:

  • Community housing organisations are experienced developers with a proven track record of creating jobs through previous stimulus initiatives.
  • They can leverage new Commonwealth investment into WA increasing the pool of funding into the social housing system.
  • They have projects ready to go across metropolitan and regional WA.
  • As professional housing organisations, funding is reinvested into the social housing system to deliver great homes for people and develop new housing supply.
  • As mission driven organisations they have a focus on delivering great housing outcomes for people.

We know that the lack of social housing is a major contributor to homelessness across Western Australia. This investment will create more housing opportunities for people on low incomes and in desperate need of an affordable place to call home.

Shelter WA urges the Federal Government to step up and work in partnership with the WA State Government and the community housing sector to invest in this social housing acceleration and renovation program to create new jobs for thousands of Western Australians whilst delivering the social housing needed so everybody in Western Australia has a place to call home.

To view the full report and see the modelling click here.

To arrange an interview with our CEO Michelle Mackenzie, please contact Heather Bush, Head of Communications and Marketing here.

Fast Facts

  • Over 9,000 people experience homelessness every night in Western Australia.
  • 14,000 people are on the waitlist for social housing in Western Australia.
  • 39,200 social housing properties are needed to meet current demand in WA.
  • Nationally, SHARP aims to develop 30,000 additional social housing units, 75 per cent of which will be delivered within three years, along with accelerated maintenance and renovation of existing social housing stock.
  • On average of the four-year period, SHARP would support between 15,500 and 18,000 FTE jobs across Australia. This is both direct construction jobs and other jobs.
  • The peak number of jobs supported (between 21,000-24,500 FTE jobs) is in 2021-22. This is when the economy is likely to be at its weakest and every dollar of stimulus presents a real opportunity to save jobs. This FTE figure could represent up to 30,000 workers nationally, whose jobs would be saved by the SHARP stimulus.

*UNSW City Future Research Centre, CHIA NSW