Opposition Leader Matt Birney and his deputy Troy Buswell have refused to support a campaign for improved Commonwealth rent assistance for regional Western Australians.
In September, Housing and Works Minister Francis Logan wrote to all country members of Parliament, seeking their support as he lobbied the Federal Minister responsible for housing, Senator Kay Patterson, to reform the rent assistance program.
Mr Logan said improved Commonwealth rent assistance was vital in towns like Karratha, Port Hedland, Broome and Kalgoorlie, where rents for a family home had risen beyond $800 a week.
“When you are on a low income in a regional centre and you are forced to pay rent this high, the $67 a week on offer from the Commonwealth is a joke,” he said.
“In reality, it means that the people on low incomes who are the backbone of our regional centres are being forced to leave town. They just cannot afford to stay.”
In State Parliament today, Mr Logan acknowledged those MPs who had supported his campaign, including the MLAs for North-West Coastal, Kimberley, Geraldton, Collie, Central Kimberley-Pilbara, Mandurah, Eyre and Albany.
He especially acknowledged the support of the National Party Leader, Merredin MLA Brendon Grylls and the Liberal MLA for Bunbury, John Castrilli.
However, Mr Logan said Kalgoorlie MLA Matt Birney and Vasse MLA Troy Buswell were notable omissions.
“Both purport to be leaders, both purport to represent the interests of regional Western Australians, but obviously neither cares enough to support the Gallop Government’s efforts to reform Commonwealth Rental Assistance in the regions,” the Minister said.
“The Member for Kalgoorlie’s lack of response to my letter confirms that he is arrogant and uncaring. In his eyes, people who rent their homes are not worth worrying about.
“Now we have the Member for Vasse, who is happy to force workers on to John Howard’s dodgy workplace contracts but does not care whether his own constituents can afford to pay their rent.
“I commend those members who took the time to support my campaign, especially the Member for Bunbury and the Member for Merredin, who have been smart enough to rise above the boofhead factor which has now infected the frontbench of the Liberal Party.”
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