Media Release by The Hon Brendan O’Connor MP

New affordable homes being built for UWA students

Minister for Housing and Homelessness Brendan O’Connor has inspected progress on 1,000 new student homes which are being built at the University of Western Australia (UWA) under the Gillard Government’s $4.3 billion National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS).

Nine studio and one bedroom units are already completed and more than 500 will be ready to house students from next year.

“It is great to see the progress on these new homes, which will be targeted at those students who need help the most,” Mr O’Connor said.

“We know that many students struggle to make ends meet, particularly Indigenous students, those with disabilities and students from the country.

“We want to give them the help they need to get the most out of their university experience and take the pressure off them as they juggle study and paid work.

“That’s why we are working with the WA Government and the university to ensure these units go to those who are most in need of assistance.”

The units will be targeted at students with disabilities, Indigenous students, students from rural areas of WA, and female students enrolled in disciplines in which they are under-represented such as engineering, computer science and postgraduate study.

“This investment will also help ease the housing shortages for the whole community with more housing becoming available because of these new homes,” Mr O’Connor said.

Director of UWA Student Residences and Currie Hall Principal Chris Massey said the University was pleased with the progress of the works.

“Upon completion, the new accommodation and facilities will provide an enhanced student experience,” Mr Massey said.

“It is widely accepted that when students live and learn campus they become fully involved in the intellectual and cultural activities of the University.”

The Gillard Government is committed to tackling the issue of housing affordability nationally and has made significant investments to help people with home ownership and more affordable rental housing, and to tackle homelessness.

Under the National Rental Affordability Scheme, 50,000 new rental properties are being built across Australia, with more than 4,750 of them in Western Australia.

The scheme delivers reduced rents for low and moderate income households by encouraging private investment in innovative affordable housing.

Delivered in partnership with state and territory governments, the scheme provides annual financial incentive payments to the business sector and community organisations to build and rent new homes at a minimum 20 per cent below market rate.

“The Gillard Government is committed to delivering more affordable and safe homes for those in need, and keeping them connected with the community,” Mr O’Connor said.