Election 2013 Western Australia March 9

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Labor News

WA Labor to ease the financial burden for WA families

Labor Statement

A WA Labor Government will provide a major boost to Western Australian families to ease the financial burden of huge household bills, WA Labor Leader Mark McGowan said today.

Mr McGowan said a WA Labor Government will:

  • provide an extra $50million for more public housing, aim for at least 30,000 affordable homes and increase the income eligibility criteria for Keystart loans; and
  • help Western Australians with cost of living pressures with cheaper power bills, the Waterwise rebate scheme and the $63.5 million Education Cost of Living Payment.

"WA Labor has a plan to tackle housing affordability which, according to the Western Australian Council of Social Service, has become one of the biggest problems facing our State," Mr McGowan said.

To address housing affordability in WA, a McGowan Labor Government's would:

  • Allocate $50million over four years to provide more public housing, including $5million for low cost innovative housing;
  • Aim for at least 30,000 affordable homes by 2020;
  • Abolish the rental option fee;
  • Establish the Pilbara Redevelopment Authority to address development bottlenecks in Karratha and Port Hedland;
  • Appoint a single Housing and Planning Minister;
  • Fast-track government land redevelopment;
  • Audit Crown land to identify land suitable for housing development;
  • Introduce planning legislation changes;
  • Amend the Building Act to provide for deemed approvals; and
  • Increase the target for higher density development.

Mr McGowan said WA Labor had a comprehensive plan to address rising cost of living in WA. Since Colin Barnett was elected, he has presided over a 62 per cent rise in power bills, a 57 per cent increase in gas prices and a 47 per cent hike in water costs.

"WA Labor will abolish the Tariff Equalisation Levy, meaning under a McGowan Government, the average annual power bill will always be 7 per cent or $111 lower than under the Barnett Government," he said.

"We will legislate to ensure that the uniform tariff is protected and that all Western Australians pay the same price for electricity."

Mr McGowan said Western Australians already had the biggest water bills in Australia before the Barnett Government increased water prices again by 6.6 per cent last year.

"Yet the Barnett Government chose in 2009 to cut the award-winning Waterwise rebate scheme," he said.

"The Waterwise rebate scheme won national and international awards while helping 351,000 households save 85 billion litres of water - and cutting their water bills.

"WA Labor will re-introduce the Waterwise rebate scheme and give Western Australians a financial incentive to reduce their water use and cut their water bills."

Mr McGowan said a WA Labor Government would also:

  • Introduce the $5million Living Smart program to help Western Australians make the important long-term changes to how they use energy and water, and keep their utility bills down;
  • Introduce the $63.5million Education Cost of Living Payment over four years to help families at a crucial time in their children's lives;
  • Ensure every eligible senior receives the Cost of Living Assistance (CoLA) payment and also assist seniors with the costs of making their homes safer by boosting the Safety and Security Rebate from $400 to $600;
  • Boost the annual value of the Country Age Pension Fuel Card to about $550 and allow it to be used to buy bottled gas; and
  • Make it easier for Western Australians to apply for cost of living assistance by developing a comprehensive Support Network portal on the Department for Communities website.

"WA Labor has better priorities for a better future, for all Western Australians."

The #wa2013vote website will be kept online so politicians promises and statements can be checked until the end of next WA election in 2017, and after.