Minister Urged to Tackle Shire's Housing Crisis

Local Housing Crisis in the Spotlight 

Acting Shire President Tracey Muir and Shire representatives met with the Honourable John Carey Minister for Planning; Lands; Housing; Homelessness on Wednesday to highlight the local housing crisis and urge the State Government to take action.

It follows the announcement last week that the regions only local housing and homelessness support agency, Just Home Margaret River, will cease it’s Housing Information and Referral service on 31 August due to a lack of funding. This means vulnerable community members will need to travel to Bunbury to access referrals and assistance.

The need for emergency and affordable housing, as well long-term funding for social services were highlighted during the meeting with Minister Carey, echoing similar discussions between the Shire President Julia Meldrum and the Premier at a meeting last month.

Acting Shire President Tracey Muir said many residents find it difficult to find an affordable a rental due to increasing costs of living and a limited properties being available due our rapidly expanding population.

“The perception is that Augusta-Margaret River is a wealthy region, but that’s not the reality for many people in our community,” said Tracey.  

“Within the Shire, we know we have around 150 people homeless and another 600 on brink of homelessness and under real financial stress.  How many more people need to be homeless before the State will act?” 

The Acting Shire President said potential housing solutions were discussed with the Minister, including using tiny homes and a pilot project to increase density in land owned by the Department of Communities. A tiny home project has been successfully implemented in Bunbury.  

She also reiterated the need for local services to ensure individuals have the support they need to address underlying issues that may have contributed to homelessness.

“The solution to homelessness is not as simple as providing housing. It’s vital that individuals have access to a range of wrap-around support mechanisms and it’s wrong to assume people have the time or money to travel to Bunbury to access services,” she said.

"The State’s investment in tourism and economic development in the region will be undermined if our community’s cultural fabric and cohesion continues to be stretched and eroded, because there is no equivalent social investment," she said.

“I’m so disappointed Just Homes haven’t been able to secure state funding to continue all of their services. It’s a real loss for our community and many of the families they support and could mean some need to leave the region altogether, which is just a devastating position for anyone to be in.”

16 May 2024 Topic Type
General News
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