WA to build 15,000 energy-efficient social housing homes


A new plan from WA’s Clean State initiative will see 15,000 energy efficient social housing homes constructed within three years, delivering major benefits for the state.

The Building and Housing component of Clean State’s Jobs Package aims to create tens of thousands of jobs, reduce homelessness and lower electricity prices for the West Australians moving into those homes.

The Jobs Package is the product of months of research by a broad team of industry experts from many sectors.

Clean State Director of Research and Policy, Chantal Caruso, said WA’s construction industry was one of the state’s largest employers but has been one of the hardest hit by COVID-19.

“Housing construction is one of the most powerful job creation and stimulus measures, and will play a huge role in our state’s economic recovery,” Ms Caruso said.

“There are 14,000 families on WA’s social housing waiting list, waiting an average of 94 weeks for a home, and 1,000 West Australians sleeping rough each night.

“Our plan would deliver homes to those families and individuals with a 7.5 star energy rating, which means lower bills, higher quality of life, and less pollution.

“Building these homes in three years would deliver 58,500 shovel and screwdriver-ready full-time construction jobs, 1,150 rooftop solar installation jobs, and 30,000 tonnes in reduced carbon emissions per year,” she said.

Ms Caruso said recent polling showed 78 per cent of Western Australians supported social housing construction and renovation as a stimulus measure in economic recovery plans, with only four per cent against.

Another pillar of the Clean State building plan is the delivery of energy retrofitting to 45,000 social housing homes across the state.

“A high proportion of public housing tenants are over 65 years old and almost half report a disability and are more likely to be vulnerable to temperature extremes in summer and winter. Simple energy efficiency measures could halve deaths from cold weather, and cut heatwave related deaths by 90 per cent.

“These renovations would help tens of thousands of West Australians cut their power bills by as much as $800 a year, and would deliver at least 3,625 full-time jobs over three years, mostly to small businesses in insulation, energy efficiency and rooftop solar. It is an economic, social and environmental investment in this state’s future,” Ms Caruso said.

“Over the weekend Australia’s chief scientist, Alan Finkel, warned that the country is not doing enough to lift energy efficiency, and said efficiency measures are the ‘best form of energy generation you could possibly ever hope to have’. Cutting energy wastage is a huge benefit to householders and to the environment.”

Ms Caruso said Western Australia could lead the country out of recession by becoming a world leader in energy efficient construction.

“Our community needs secure jobs, affordable housing and lower living costs, and the environment needs significant cuts to pollution. This plan delivers on all fronts.”

This is the first component of a series of initiatives contained within the Clean State Jobs Package to create 200,000 jobs that stimulate the economy and address climate change.

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