Rent hike is a ‘pay cut’ for teach­ers

Pilbara News - - State Election 2017 - Tom Zaun­mayr

Pil­bara teach­ers have held ral­lies in Kar­ratha, Hed­land and New­man to protest the in­crease in gov­ern­ment and re­gional of­fi­cer hous­ing rents in­tro­duced last year in which rents went up by as much as 15 per cent.

In July last year the gov­ern­ment in­creased the amount by which GROH prop­erty rents could be raised each year from $10 a week to up to $30 a week.

State School Teach­ers’ Union WA pres­i­dent Pat Byrne said the rent in­crease amounted to a pay cut for pub­lic ser­vants.

“We sim­ply can­not un­der­stand how the gov­ern­ment can jus­tify in­creas­ing rents for gov­ern­ment houses at a time when rents in the pri­vate mar­ket are go­ing down and when the cur­rent CPI is as low as it is,” she said.

“Our mem­bers have out­lined a long list of is­sues with their GROH prop­er­ties around the State, in­clud­ing mould and wa­ter dam­age to car­pets and walls, plumb­ing is­sues, leaks and bro­ken air-con­di­tion­ers.

“In some in­stances, teach­ers and other pub­lic ser­vants are be­ing forced to pay more for prop­er­ties that are in very poor con­di­tion.”

Ms Byrne called on the ma­jor par­ties to com­mit to de­creas­ing rents, or to com­pen­sate teach­ers for the pay cut, and to im­prove main­te­nance of prop­er­ties.

Hous­ing Min­is­ter Bren­don Grylls said de­spite the in­crease, rents were still heav­ily sub­sidised.

“Mov­ing the rent closer to par­ity with the pri­vate mar­ket is an im­por­tant part of nor­mal­i­sa­tion of hous­ing in re­gional Western Aus­tralia, es­pe­cially in towns with a nor­mal and af­ford­able hous­ing mar­ket,” he said.

“Gov­ern­ment agen­cies have the dis­cre­tion to make the fi­nal de­ci­sion on the rent that their em­ploy­ees pay, in­clud­ing the dis­cre­tion to of­fer ad­di­tional ren­tal dis­counts to em­ploy­ees liv­ing in GROH prop­er­ties. ”

Pil­bara Lib­eral can­di­date Mark Alchin said im­prov­ing health and ed­u­ca­tion in the Pil­bara needed to be pri­ori­tised.

“I don’t see a lot of merit in us­ing Roy­al­ties for Re­gions money for ad­di­tional in­fra­struc­ture when we have teach­ers who are leav­ing be­cause in­cen­tives to stay in the Pil­bara are no longer there,” he said.

“If we want peo­ple to stay in town we need to have the best ed­u­ca­tion we can pro­vide, on par with the metro.

”I’m not against mo­tor­sport but we shouldn’t be build­ing mo­tor-plexes in Al­bany when our teach­ers rents are go­ing up in the Pil­bara.”

State School Teach­ers' Union WA pres­i­dent Pat Byrne.

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