Kalgoorlie MP John Bowler said public housing is “not a right” but a “privilege”, after the federal government passed legislation that will shift community housing from a federal to a state responsibility in Western Australia.
The state Liberal government will get about $500 million to fund new, and upgrade existing houses. The takeover has been defended by Bowler, who says the change will encourage better treatment of the housing by tenants.
“I think it's a good piece of legislation” , he said, according to ABC News Online on May 20. “I think when you've got public housing it's not a right for people to access public housing, it's a privilege and the accommodation should be treated accordingly.”
But Kimberley Labor MP Carol Martin says the amount is nowhere near enough to adequately maintain the properties, which are now in an appalling state.
“Those houses still need to be repaired before you can expect Aboriginal people to pay full rent”, she said. “They want rent, they want to normalise the service for Aboriginal people but they are not prepared to provide any level of maintenance that would make it livable.
"If someone wanted to give me a dirty handkerchief, I would want some washing powder at least. I mean come on, why would the State Government sign off on it?"