MP defends housing
■ Any future spikes in Pilbara rents will no longer spell bad news for small business and service workers, according to Pilbara MP Brendon Grylls.
With Warambie Estate in Karratha 94 per cent full, South Hedland’s Osprey at 70 per cent occupancy and 50 units at Karratha’s The Quarter on the way, Mr Grylls said the Government had enough property to regulate the market so small business people would not be pushed out of town again.
“The thing that’s been lost in this discussion on service workers is it was a new style of Government-subsidised housing aimed at the small business sector,” he said. “Lots of people say it’s not full, it’s got to be full.
“The idea was that the Government had enough accommodation in these Pilbara towns to go against rental spikes from big project announcements.”
Department of Housing commercial operations acting general manager, Nigel Hindmarsh, said their process for determining new rents at Osprey was also under way as the market fell.
“Housing is pleased to note the number of occupants who have chosen to extend their leases at the village and remain part of the vibrant and growing Osprey community,” he said.
“The fact that tenants can also choose to transition into the private rental market or take up home ownership opportunities in town over time is also a positive sign showing that the local property market continues to normalise and offer long-term affordable and appropriate residency options.”
Mr Grylls said commentary that Osprey being only 70 per cent full meant the project had failed was rubbish.
“We were in an environment in Port Hedland where rents were $3000 a week,” he said.
“You can’t let the private market work by itself because should Woodside announce a major expansion, or Rio Tinto announce a major expansion and Anketell gets up, rents in Karratha will be under a whole lot of pressure again and small businesses in Karratha will be very grateful that we’ve got 100 spots at Warambie and the new 50 apartments at the Quarter.
“I’ve also said to people I don’t want to be having service worker accommodation as the cheapest accommodation in town, because there are lots of private investors with rentals around the community and we don’t want to undercut that.”
Brendon Grylls said surplus accommodation would cushion the Pilbara from rental spikes.