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More than 1000 Mid West residents left in limbo as public housing waitlist grows

Phoebe PinGeraldton Guardian
Minister for Housing John Carey.
Camera IconMinister for Housing John Carey. Credit: Simon Santi/The West Australian

The Mid West has one of the longest public housing waitlists in regional WA, with new figures showing more than 1000 residents are yet to be allocated homes.

According to data tabled in Parliament this week, 1065 people in the Mid West and Gascoyne are waiting for public housing as of March 31. Of those, 185 have been given priority status.

The South West was the only region to top this, with 1329 residents on the waitlist. The Pilbara had more priority cases waiting for housing than the Mid West and Gascoyne, with 254 of the 750 people on the list given priority.

The west Kimberley had the next longest waitlist, with 839 people in need of public housing.

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Across the State, 18 738 applications are on the waitlist, representing 32, 873 people. This includes 3952 priority applications, which account for 8006 people.

As of the end of March, there were 3701 applications on the public housing waitlist who identified a household member as being a recipient of a disability support pension or payment. Of these, 993 applications were priority-listed.

Murchison Region Aboriginal Corporation faces similar demand pressures, with chief executive Mary Marshall saying the housing organisation has 212 people waiting for tenancy.

Of those, 24 have been given priority status in Geraldton. Most of the some-120 rental properties managed by MRAC are occupied, with one vacancy now being finalised and two others already allocated to tenants.

Ms Marshall said MRAC had the resources to buy more homes but there was almost no new stock available.

“There is virtually no new housing coming into the region. There has been nothing really suitable to purchase in the last few months,” she said.

Ms Marshall said the State Government was not to blame for the crisis and instead attributed the housing gridlock to more owner-occupiers snapping up homes instead of buyers listing the homes as investment properties.

There are fears the demand for housing could spike if the new owners of the Batavia Motor Inne decide to demolish the derelict site —which has become a shelter of last resort for Geraldton’s homeless population.

Minister for Housing John Carey said the State Government was working to inject additional stock into the housing market.

“I want to put it on the record that we are doing everything we can to accelerate the delivery of social housing but waiting lists are always tied to rental markets,” he said.

Mr Carey said modular home programs for the regions, moving to timber-frame construction methods, a spot-purchasing program and a review of Government Regional Officers’ Housing were all designed to to get vacant stock back into the system.

BREAKOUT

Public housing waitlists in regional WA

WAITLIST TOTAL

South West: 1329

Mid West-Gascoyne: 1065

West Kimberley: 839

Pilbara: 750

Great Southern: 615

Goldfields: 545

Wheatbelt: 366

Kimberley: 352

PRIORITY TOTAL

Pilbara: 254

Mid West-Gascoyne: 185

Great Southern: 173

South West: 156

West Kimberley: 145

Kimberley: 127

Goldfields: 93

Wheatbelt: 75

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