Shelter WA welcomes the release of Infrastructure WA’s draft 20 year Infrastructure Strategy last week.
Foundations for a Stronger Tomorrow outlines the state’s infrastructure needs and priorities across 19 cross-cutting themes.
The draft Infrastructure Strategy is available for public consultation from Wednesday, 21 July 2021 to Wednesday, 15 September 2021. Shelter WA will prepare a submission and welcomes comments from members.
The Strategy makes 88 recommendations which outline priority projects as well as necessary non-build policy reforms.
Social and Affordable Housing
Shelter WA welcomes the inclusion of social and affordable housing as a designated sector in the strategy and the recognition of social and affordable housing as vital social and economic infrastructure.
The Strategy confirms that current targets in the WA Housing Strategy 2020-2030 (6 per cent net growth in social housing by 2030 & 20 per cent social and affordable housing inclusion in state projects) do not adequately meet current nor projected demand. Shelter WA strongly supports the Strategy’s recommendation for a review of current targets and for better alignment of state housing targets with evidence-based demand projections. The call for sustained and significant investment in social and affordable housing in WA is encouraging.
Community Housing Organisations
Importantly, the Strategy also recognises the value of the Community Housing Organisations (CHOs) in the management and provision of social and affordable housing. Increasing the capacity of the community housing sector (Recommendation 70) will provide new opportunities for leveraging additional social and affordable housing supply by taking advantage of tax incentives and federal financing options available to CHOs.
The Strategy makes five recommendations relating to social and affordable housing:
- Develop ten regional housing plans | To provide a localised evidence base to inform investment decisions.
- Prioritise further investment in social and affordable housing | Recommendations include an audit of current stock, aligning the current WA Housing Strategy 2020-2030 to evidence-based need projections and developing a sustained investment plan.
- Enable and diversify social and affordable housing providers | Recommendations include building capacity of CHOs, housing innovation through Development WA, and increasing security of tenure via reform of the Residential Tenancies Act 1987.
- Review and improve the Government Regional Officer Housing (GROH) Program and other duplicate programs.
- Improve Aboriginal housing outcomes | Recommendations include better alignment of housing initiatives with the National Agreement on Closing the Gap, addressing overcrowding, sustained investment into Aboriginal housing and capacity building of Aboriginal housing organisations.
Shelter WA also supports recommendations set out elsewhere in the Strategy but relevant to social and affordable housing including:
- Developing climate change transition plans for all sectors | Recognises the need for government investment (for example in housing) to respond to climate risk and to align with WA’s net zero by 2050 aspiration.
- Improving the quality of infrastructure and services provided in remote Aboriginal communities and town-based reserves.
The link to the draft Strategy can be found here.