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More people mean more homes needed

According to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, an influx of people moved interstate to Western Australia in the last three months of 2021.

For many people, the extensive lockdowns experienced in Melbourne and Sydney would

have been a prompt to seek the lifestyle on

offer in WA, as well as employment opportunities and relative housing affordability.

Interestingly many of those moving to WA were young families and younger people relocating for work or education.

Despite the increase in the number of people moving here, there are still significant issues in terms of getting skilled workers into the state to assist a range of industries, such as the property and construction industry, in meeting consumer demand.

While attracting more people to the state is important for a range of reasons, not least to boost our workforce and keep the economy growing, providing affordable and appropriate homes for these people is an ongoing challenge.

One solution to providing workers with accommodation in the short term is utilising

the dedicated COVID-19 quarantine facility

that is being built in Bullsbrook.

The construction of the 500-bed facility has been funded by the Federal Government, however construction delays have meant that its original purpose as a quarantine facility will be somewhat redundant by the time it is complete.

The State and Federal Government have been considering alternative options for the facility, with Premier Mark McGowan last week flagging the potential for it to house skilled workers in the short term.

The State Government has agreed to fund the operation of the facility for 12 months.

While this may be a positive short-term strategy to alleviate the skills shortage, UDIA WA would also like to see some longer-term actions put in place to ensure ongoing housing supply and affordability.

One solution we are passionate about is long-term property tax reform, including land tax and stamp duty regimes.

Stamp duty is widely recognised as restricting the movement of households between different housing typologies as their housing needs change.

In particular, stamp duty prevents many older households from downsizing and potentially ageing in place.

This also means there are many older people living in homes that are much larger than their needs.

UDIA WA believes there are alternatives to stamp duty that could be considered, including a broad-based land tax.

As a first step in reform, we would encourage the State Government to undertake a comprehensive review of state-based property taxes.

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