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Greens propose to grow modular housing industry for South West

Media Release
Scott Ludlam 2 Sep 2013

The Greens today launched a plan to address the affordable housing crisis by creating a new local prefabricated housing industry in WA's South West.

Greens Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam said the manufacture and installation of prefabricated housing made with local sustainable plantation timber will be a boost for local jobs, while delivering much-needed housing.

Senator Ludlam made the announcement today in Bunbury, home to WA's largest pine sawmill at Dardanup.

"The Australian Greens have an ambitious plan to resolve our housing affordability crisis by building 214,000 new homes across Australia over the next 10 years, and within this national target we include 71,810 modular dwellings - prefabricated homes - which can be manufactured and installed faster and cheaper than conventional homes," Senator Ludlam said.

"Modern prefabricated homes look like a conventionally-built home but are cheaper, faster to build, and are far more energy efficient.

"This will be a growth industry for the South-West with many benefits; creating jobs in housing design, innovation, manufacturing and construction, and also in sustainable plantation pine management.

"Plantation stocks used for modular housing creates significant value-adding; whereas plantation woodchips return about $10 per tonne to growers, using plantation pine in pre-fabricated housing provides about a ten-fold return to the grower.

"WA already has around 81,000 hectares of pine plantations for residential construction purposes located in Yanchep, Gnangara and Pinjarra, mostly managed by the WA Forest Products Commission.

"Soft woods including plantation-sourced conifers - like Penaster and Radiata pine - and cedar are best suited for residential construction, but we are also interested in the possibilities of using other timbers, including hardwood plantations such as blue gum."

The Australian Greens "Building a New Way" plan will:

Provide a guaranteed Government commitment to buy 71,000 new prefabricated homes over 10 years, with at least 1000 produced here in WA a year;

Introduce a $50 million sustainable prefabricated modular housing industry package to provide support for research and development, innovation, excellence in design, skills and training, assistance establishing new production and manufacturing facilities, and demonstration projects;

Establish direct opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to obtain training, trade qualifications, and employment across the prefabricated housing industry; and

Set a strong ‘Australian made' target over the longer term, established with industry and sustainability stakeholders

"The Australian Greens care about ensuring affordable housing for all Australians and we are leading the way to find local solutions which will create jobs in our communities," said Senator Ludlam.

"While Colin Barnett and Kevin Rudd think we can rely on dwindling and polluting fossil fuels to deliver jobs, the Greens are standing up for a jobs-rich, diverse economy that will boost our regional industries and solve the housing crisis at the same time," Senator Ludlam concluded.


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