Francis Logan

Francis Logan

Minister for Energy; Resources; Industry and Enterprise

    Campaign over rent assistance continues

    7/11/2005 12:00 AM

    Housing and Works Minister Francis Logan will continue his campaign for improved rent assistance for people living in regional centres, despite his Federal counterpart’s refusal to consider the matter.

    Mr Logan said he was bitterly disappointed by the attitude of the Federal Family and Community Minister, Senator Kay Patterson, when he raised the matter at the recent meeting of State and Commonwealth Housing Ministers in Perth.

    “Her position is absolutely unacceptable,” Mr Logan said.

    “People living in places like Karratha, Broome, Port Hedland and Kalgoorlie are paying rents as high as $650 and $800 a week.

    “Rents in excess of $1,000 a week are not uncommon for a four-bedroom, two-bathroom family home in Karratha.

    “Yet the only assistance available from the Commonwealth is $49 per week for a single person with no children, up to a maximum of $65 per week for a couple with three children.

    “I asked Senator Patterson if she would consider a formula to ring-fence these towns so they could receive an appropriate amount of rent assistance. But she refused point blank.

    “Clearly, Senator Patterson and the Federal Government do not care about low-income earners in regional Western Australia.

    "Nor do they understand the important contribution low-income earners make towards a town - just imagine a town without any cleaners, or shop assistants!”

    Mr Logan said the high rents meant it was impossible for regional centres to attract low-income but essential workers such as apprentices, shop assistants and domiciled nurses.

    The Gallop Government was working to improve the situation by increasing the supply of residential land and public housing in towns like Karratha and South Hedland.

    As recently as last week, Premier Geoff Gallop announced the release of residential land in Karratha’s Tambrey subdivision, where preference would be given to buyers who were permanent residents or operated businesses in the Shire of Roebourne.

    “Clearly the Federal Government does not share the State’s willingness to improve rental affordability in regional centres,” Mr Logan said.

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