Alan Carpenter

Alan Carpenter

Premier; Minister for Federal-State Relations; Trade; Innovation; Science; Public Sector Management

Eric Ripper

Eric Ripper

Deputy Premier; Treasurer; Minister for State Development

    State Government unveils new $238million housing affordability package

    26/09/2007 12:13 PM

    Premier Alan Carpenter has announced a $238million housing and land package with a major focus on accommodation for lower income earners.

    The announcement coincides with the release of the State Government’s Annual Report on State Finances for 2006-07 showing a record net operating surplus of $2.3billion.

    The Premier said that sound financial management and a booming economy had enabled the Government to invest more money into new housing and land initiatives.

    “The $238million package unveiled today focuses on the key areas of social housing and crisis accommodation, land supply and accommodation in regional areas for government employees,” Mr Carpenter said.

    “While many Western Australians are enjoying the opportunities being provided by our strong economy, there are still many others facing the financial challenges associated with an unprecedented demand for land and housing.

    “Housing affordability and accommodation is a major priority for this Government and today’s announcement builds on a series of major housing affordability initiatives implemented since 2004.”

    The extra $238million would help deliver:
    • 124 extra social housing dwellings;
    • up to 300 new lodging house and crisis accommodation rooms;
    • incentives to relocate 100 people in under-occupied properties to smaller properties;
    • assistance in providing accommodation for mental health clients as part of the Mental Health Strategy that commenced in 2005-06;
    • strategic land holdings with the potential for 1,850 future residential lots; and
    • 62 new Government Regional Officers Housing dwellings.
    State Treasurer Eric Ripper said Western Australia’s finances were healthier than ever with the general government sector being net-debt free for the fourth year in a row.

    “The figures highlight the fact that the State’s financial position is very strong,” Mr Ripper said.

    “This allows the State Government to plan for the future by investing record amounts into capital works infrastructure, retiring debt and addressing key ongoing issues of community concern like housing affordability.”

    Financial highlights for 2006-07 included:
    • a record general government operating surplus of $2.3billion, up $39million on the surplus recorded in 2005-06;
    • general government revenue in 2006-07 totalled $17.45billion, representing growth of 7.7 per cent on 2005-06, which although strong, is substantially lower than the record 14 per cent recorded in 2005-06;
    • net debt at June 30 was $2.98billion - the lowest level on record;
    • a net debt to revenue ratio for the total non-financial public sector of 17.9 per cent - the lowest on record; and
    • these low net debt outcomes were achieved while delivering a record $5.1billion Capital Works Program - up $666million on the previous record spend in 2005-06.
    The stronger outcomes for 2006-07 included a Consolidated Account cash surplus of $1.3billion, with $1.09billion allocated to the new Fiona Stanley Hospital in the recent 2007-08 Budget.

    The Treasurer also announced that a further $149million would be used to retire agency debt, with another $50million to fund the recently announced increase in completion costs for the New MetroRail project (ensuring this project remains debt free on completion).

    In addition to paying the construction costs of these major assets in full, this decision brings to $3.7billion the total value of debt repaid or avoided using recent cash surpluses from the State’s current boom. This is in turn saving around $233million annually in interest costs.

    “The 2006-07 figures show once again that our economy is running at full capacity and the Commonwealth needs to help ensure we can meet the demand for infrastructure development and the skills and labour that our State needs to keep growing,” Mr Ripper said.

    “The State Government’s approach has been to make sure that these good times are not squandered but rather used to build a sound economic and social base for our future.

    “We are expanding and improving key services such as health, law and order, child protection and environmental protection.

    “We are reinvesting the money into building the infrastructure such as ports, roads, hospitals and schools that WA needs to retain our position as the nation’s economic engine room.

    “This approach has already been recognised by the credit ratings agencies, with both Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s confirming the State a Triple A credit rating in the last 12 months.”

    A full copy of the report will be available at from 1pm today.

    Premier’s office - 9222 9475
    Treasurer’s office - 9222 8788