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WA Government takes action to tackle Perth’s housing supply crisis – By Kylee Schoonens


The affordable housing and supply crisis continues to worsen in Perth after years of record low vacancy rates but, the recent announcement by the WA government aims to increase available housing in the city.

According to REIWA, Perth’s vacancy rate dipped to just 0.6 per cent in December, a clear indication that change must occur in WA if we are to alleviate the strain on housing supply and improve housing diversity.

There has been a slowdown in new dwelling delivery over the last few years that has directly contributed to Perth’s rental crisis. In response to the situation, the McGowan Government recently announced a range of measures, advocated for by the Property Council WA, aimed at streamlining approval processes to bolster residential development in WA.

By promising projects will be evaluated within 120 days following lodgement of a planning approval, these changes provide certainty to developers that the approval process has a guaranteed time frame. Essentially, the government is seeking to eliminate a layer of red tape to ensure more projects can move forward.

By delivering this refined approval pathway and dedicated framework, the state government is demonstrating its commitment to creating a more efficient system that bolsters development and improves housing stock.

In Queensland, Brisbane City Council and Gold Coast Council have led the way in streamlining approval processes for medium to high-density housing development. Comparable to the east coast state, WA’s proposed planning scheme prioritises transparency and turnaround time, offering developers greater clarity and assurance for project timelines and financial forecasting.

However, it is worth noting there is still an undefined time frame of the design review panel process, which occurs prior to planning approval lodgement. If we are to have true assurance of a project’s delivery time, there needs to be more refinement of the design review process and consistency across local and state government assessment processes. This will ensure projects avoid significant delays before they are even submitted for development approval.

We look forward to further refinement of the design review process to streamline the whole approval process.

The second part of the McGowan Government’s announcement is the Infrastructure Development Fund – an $80 million fund designed to unlock a new pipeline of apartment development in areas in need of affordable housing by enabling more projects to move forward.

The impacts of labour and supply shortages have reduced the feasibility of multi-residential projects over the last few years. This proposed infrastructure fund is designed to alleviate some of the upfront costs developers face and ultimately boost residential development in certain areas. Whilst this $80 million grant won’t be enough to solve Perth’s housing affordability crisis entirely, it is a promising start to what will be a long, uphill road to recovery.

The McGowan Government should be positioning WA as a leader in build-to-rent development and as a state where there is significant opportunity for this sector to flourish.


BtR project Robertson Lane by Arklife, Queensland. 

As a maturing sector that is gaining momentum on Australian soil, build-to-rent will be instrumental in increasing housing supply and lowering the cost of buying and renting across communities. As a collective we must be on the front foot and ensure the state setting encourages and supports build-to-rent, or we will fall behind and miss a golden opportunity to other states

WA’s population will continue to grow, and the demand for housing will continue to increase. To ensure housing stock is delivered to accommodate this growth, the state government must continue to work with industry and adjust policies that will allow the property sector to bolster development and ultimately deliver more housing choices for the community.


Kylee Schoonens is a Rothelowman Principal based out of our Perth Studio. She is a motivated, people-first leader dedicated to improving communities. Kylee has a breadth of experience, having spent over 20 years positively impacting the property industry through creativity, innovation and good governance.