Pub­lic hous­ing debt soars

Pilbara News - - News - Dylan Ca­porn

The cost of dam­age to pub­lic hous­ing in New­man is among the high­est in the State, with doc­u­ments re­veal­ing more than $80,000 has been racked up so far this fi­nan­cial year.

The amount Hous­ing Author­ity ten­ants around the State owe for re­pairs, rub­bish re­moval, rent and wa­ter bills has in­creased 10 per cent since last year, ac­cord­ing to fig­ures from the State Govern­ment which show the to­tal debt cur­rent and for­mer ten­ants owe is $46.6 mil­lion.

Of the $46.6 mil­lion, $35.4 mil­lion is owed by for­mer ten­ants, $7.7 mil­lion is be­ing man­aged by debt col­lec­tion agen­cies and $627,000 has been writ­ten off.

Author­ity ser­vice de­liv­ery gen­eral man­ager Greg Cash said the debt amounted to $1207 a house.

The $11.2 mil­lion debt owed by cur­rent ten­ants in­cludes $2.6 mil­lion for un­paid rent, $4.2 mil­lion for un­paid wa­ter bills and $4.4 mil­lion for dam­age and rub­bish re­moval.

The doc­u­ments, ob­tained through free­dom of in­for­ma­tion laws, reveal the to­tal amount of dam­age this fi­nan­cial year was more than $17 mil­lion.

The pa­pers also re­vealed $10 mil­lion of the dam­age was caused up to Fe­bru­ary.

Kal­go­or­lie recorded the high­est amount of dam­age at $184,263, fol­lowed by New­man $85,241 and Kar­ratha $61,628.

Hous­ing Min­is­ter Colin Holt said it was a small pro­por­tion of prob­lem ten­ants who caused the dam­age.

“To spend tax­payer money re­pair­ing prop­erty as a re­sult of wil­ful dam­age is a dis­ap­point­ing waste of funds that could be bet­ter spent else­where, ” he said.

Mr Holt stood by his sug­ges­tion to take a de­duc­tion from ten­ants’ wel­fare pay­ments to en­sure the debts were paid.

Shadow min­is­ter for hous­ing Fran Lo­gan said clearly noth­ing had been done to re­duce the debt.

“I ques­tion, once again, what is hap­pen­ing with the debtors. Are they back on the pub­lic hous­ing wait­ing list or even housed and, if so, why,” he said.

“Un­less there are clear guide­lines on how these debts can be tack­led the moun­tain of money owed will sim­ply get big­ger.”

The fig­ures also show the author­ity re­cov­ered $12.3 mil­lion be­tween July 1 last year and April 30 this year.

Pic­ture: Re­becca Parish

More than $80,000 of dam­age has been done to pub­lic hous­ing in New­man this fi­nan­cial year.

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