Moore MP Shane Love MLA has called on the McGowan government to rethink the extraordinarily high cost of Government Regional Officer Housing (GROH) rents.
He said Labor’s move to temporarily defer the $30 GROH rent increase due to take effect on July 1, 2019 was not enough.
“It is difficult to get teachers, police and other government officers to take up a regional posting while faced with increasing GROH rental rates in country towns,” Mr Love said. “The rental increases go against the market trend and it’s making it difficult to recruit police in these regional areas.
“The GROH rental increases need to stop and a review conducted with the result being realistic rents charged at all GROH properties.”
Speaking in Parliament last week following the handing down of the State Budget, Mr Love said house prices were down and in some country towns, values had plummeted but in stark contrast, rental rates for GROH properties continued to rise year on year.
“The perverse effect is that these GROH properties will remain empty because we can’t recruit police, for instance,” he added. “Police and teachers in peri-urban areas like Gingin are more likely to commute from Perth and the community misses out.
“The budget is much healthier now thanks to booming iron ore prices and the GST windfall and a review of rental rates is a relatively minor concession that can really assist with recruiting staff to regional areas.”
Mr Love said the issue of GROH rental values had been raised with him right the way across his electorate of Moore, from north of Geraldton, to Cervantes, inland to Dalwallinu and as far south as Gingin.
“In some instances you have graduate teachers who have opted for a country posting but are struggling with their university debts and unrealistic rental values,” he said.
“In a couple of cases the complaints involved not only the high rental values, but also the quality of the available housing.”