Rent claims don’t stack up

CRACK out the baloney: WA housing minister Colin Holt has failed to explain how his rent rises for public housing tenants bring WA’s system into line with the rest of the country — as he claims — when they actually do the opposite.

Mr Holt had told Channel 9 that including a range of additional allowances as income to be assessed for rent was “standard practice across Australia”.

But when the Herald checked with other states and the Northern Territory, only Queensland included any of the allowances and even then not as many as Mr Holt includes.

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Least generous

In response to the Herald’s questions about his claim, Mr Holt refers to “variations across different jurisdictions” without acknowledging the changes he’s overseeing make WA the least generous state in the nation.

“All states set public housing rent as a proportion of income with 25 per cent the generally accepted standard across the country,” he said.

“In WA, numerous exemptions and discounts have resulted in anomalies and inequities where many tenants pay less than 25 per cent of their income in rent.

“Housing authorities across the country continue to harmonise rents around the 25 per cent principle however, there will continues to be variations across different jurisdictions as individual states make their determination.”
Mr Holt says the government will ensure all rents are affordable, while removing “inequities”.

“For low income earners outside of the public housing system, many with similar financial circumstances and on the public housing wait list, they are renting from the private rental market and have to pay significantly higher proportions of their income than a flat 25 per cent to meet their weekly housing costs.

“These are the people we are focused on to ensure they are able to be housed as soon as possible.”

Mr Holt says the Barnett government is committed to providing an additional 1000 social housing properties and to halve the number of families and seniors on the priority housing wait list by June 2017.

Comment by STEVE GRANT

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