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Housing affordability crisis undermining the future of northwest communities

"The lack of affordability of housing in our regional centres is driving a social crisis that is undermining the viability of our regional communities," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

Today the Senate inquiry into Affordable Housing is visiting Karratha - one of a number of regional centres where sky-rocketing rents are undermining social services and forcing retirees to move away from town.

"The rate of the resources boom in the Northwest has so far outstripped the development of our regional infrastructure that, rather than building up our regional centres, the demand for housing from cashed-up miners is creating unsustainable communities."

"The people who provide the social services that support these growing communities - such as teachers, nurses and social workers - cannot afford to live in town."

"All of the supports that regional families need to support life in the northwest are drying up," said Senator Siewert.

"At the same time we have heard from retirees - who have grown and been the very life blood of these communities - that the spiralling cost of living means that they simply cannot afford to retire in town," she said.

"We need much greater investment in both affordable housing and social infrastructure in our regional centres to ensure that we are growing sustainable communities, not locking ourselves into a boom and bust scenario," concluded Senator Siewert.

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