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New report reveals WA's public housing spend lags behind other states

Giovanni Torre -

Perth's rental crisis and the state of Indigenous housing in Western Australia has been brought into sharp focus by a new report from the Productivity Commission showing WA has lagged behind other states in public housing investment.

The report released Monday found WA spent less on public housing than Tasmania in the first four years of the McGowan government, despite a 500 per cent larger population and massive budget surpluses.

The number of available public housing dwellings fell by nearly 2000 in the same period, a fall of almost six per cent, putting Western Australia's $148.1 million public housing spend in 2017-21 in a particularly poor light in contrast to $654.1m in South Australia and $252.1m in Tasmania.

Mining and Pastoral MLC Neil Thomson said regional communities were especially vulnerable to the current housing market.

"I've spoken on this issue many times in Parliament. Since coming to power, the WA Labor government has built about half as many houses (Public Sector, including social housing) than the Liberal National government for the same period - these data are on the ABS website and updated regularly," he said on Monday.

"It's impacting on regional communities as we now face massive housing shortages for the people who can least afford it. I've asked for specific data on social houses - by town - and (I am) always fobbed off with the excuse it would take too many resources for the government to answer the question.

"I really don't understand how any of this is OK, especially among the progressive left leaning voting cohort. It just staggers me."

In December, WA Housing Minister John Carey announced a $140 million investment - over four years - to improve housing supply for remote and town-based Aboriginal communities.

That same month Mr Carey said a joint federal-state project (including more than $200 million in state funding) would deliver around 265 additional social homes and enable refurbishments to more than 300 existing social homes across WA.

Earlier this month the government announced it would provide $7.5 million to St Patrick's Fremantle to bolster the WA's social housing stock.

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