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Tue September 21 2021

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Western Australia to boost social housing

8 Sep The new budget for Western Australia includes a record AU$875m (£470) investment in social housing and a drive towards modular homes.

The 2021-2022 state budget includes the establishment of an AU$750 million Social Housing Investment Fund, with AU$228 million set aside for short-term projects to increase social housing and AU$522 million to deliver new social homes and ensure a significant pipeline of work for the construction industry.

The AU$875 million investment included in the upcoming State Budget represents the single largest one-off funding injection for social housing in the state's history, and takes the total social housing investment over the next four years to more than AU$2.1 billion to fund around 3,300 social houses.

The additional social housing investment over the next four years includes:

  • AU$168.8 million for the conversion of around 500 affordable housing properties;
  • AU$40 million for a program of spot purchasing in both metropolitan and regional areas for social housing;
  • AU$6 million for the retention and refurbishment of approximately 120 existing properties;
  • AU$12.8 million to carry out building assessments on the more than 10,000 ageing public housing and Government Regional Officer Housing assets;
  • AU$5.5 million to assist with planning and business case development for future social housing development on State Government owned land;
  • AU$522 million to deliver new social homes from 2022-23.

Existing funding from a number of programmes will be reprioritised and brought forward to deliver a program of modular, prefabricated, social housing builds across the state. This will include AU$80 million for the delivery of an additional 150 social housing properties in regional Western Australia through a programme of modular builds.

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The state said that reprioritising existing investment towards modular, prefabricated homes will help speed up the delivery of social housing as these buildings will reduce the demand on the building and construction industry.

Housing minister John Carey said: “This investment is a practical and pragmatic approach to delivering more social housing in our state. We need an immediate boost to social housing, but we also need to acknowledge that in the current market, constructing homes will take some time. That is why we are investing in programmes such as the repurposing of affordable homes to social, spot purchasing properties, and investing in faster and alternative construction methods such as modular homes.

"By holding more than AU$520 million for future projects, we're also ensuring there will be a critical pipeline of work for our construction industry when this current housing construction boom ends.”

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