Housing and Works Minister Francis Logan is continuing his fight for improved rental assistance for people living in regional areas by calling on country MPs to join him in battle.
Mr Logan told State Parliament yesterday that he would be writing to all MPs in a regional electorate, asking them to support moves to have the Federal Government’s rent assistance formula changed to reflect the cost of living in regional centres.
“The Federal Government’s position is absolutely unacceptable,” the Minister said.
“Clearly, Canberra does not care about low-income earners in regional Western Australia. Nor does it understand the important contribution low-income earners make towards a town - just imagine a town without any cleaners, or shop assistants, or hospitality workers?”
Mr Logan said renting a home in some regional centres was completely out of reach for low-income earners. For example, rents in Karratha could be as high as $650 and $800 a week.
With this sort of impost, it was almost impossible for regional centres to attract low-income but essential workers such as apprentices (gross income of $250 a week), shop assistants ($495) and domiciled nurses ($436).*
The Gallop Government is working to improve this situation by increasing the supply of residential land and public housing in towns like Karratha and South Hedland.
“However, the Federal Government does not share the State’s willingness to improve rental affordability in regional centres,” the Minister said.
“Their position is that rental assistance should remain at fixed dollar amounts, ranging from $49 per week for a single person with no children, up to a maximum of $65 per week for a couple with three children - regardless of the cost of living in a regional centre.”
Mr Logan said the rent assistance formula could be changed to represent a percentage of the median rent paid in each region.
*Incomes provided by tenants to Homeswest’s Karratha office.
Minister's office: 9222 8950