Na­tion­als de­fend homes in­vest­ment

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

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.

Pic­ture: Ger­ald Moscarda

Hous­ing Min­is­ter Colin Holt.

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