MP de­fends hous­ing

Pilbara News - - News - Peter de Krui­jff

■ 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.”

Pic­ture: Bill Hatto

Bren­don Grylls said sur­plus ac­com­mo­da­tion would cush­ion the Pil­bara from rental spikes.

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