Nationals defend homes investment
The WA Nationals have reaffirmed their confidence in investments made in Pilbara property using Royalties for Regions funding.
Investments in Pelago in Karratha and Osprey in Hedland have come in for heavy criticism from the Opposition and members of the public as a perceived waste of funds aimed at improving regional WA communities.
Speaking to the Pilbara News after announcing a move into the Onslow market in Barrarda Estate, Housing Minister Colin Holt said the focus of these investments was never to make a profit.
“It’s for people on moderate incomes who could never afford to live in the Pilbara without some subsidy from their employer actually being able to live here,” he said.
“It’s absolutely, fundamentally changed the rental outcome to the point now where we’re actually getting people moving out of social housing and buying their own homes.
“(The boom) times are going to come back and we are very happy to have made that decision to invest rather than just wait until the pressure is right on to do it again.”
Shadow housing minister Fran Logan said the argument the housing market was overheated at the time of investing in Pelago was inadequate.
“At the end of the day the construction boom … was starting to taper off in 2012 when the Nationals made their investment,” he said. “I’d like to know when the next boom is coming. That argument is just justifying a waste of taxpayers’ money.
“They’ve taken taxpayer money … and used it as if it were their own for speculative investments in the North West of WA.”
Mining and Pastoral MLC Jacqui Boydell said investment in housing stock had put the Pilbara well ahead of where it was in 2008.
“Without Government lev- eraging private investors, they are nervous to enter an environment where they haven’t been before,” she said.
“Government should absolutely be in the space of leveraging private investment, getting it started and giving it a leg up.”
A review into the investments made using Royalties for Regions funding is being carried out.
Housing Minister Colin Holt.