Sunday, August 19, 2007

WA's Two-Tier Society

Many WA working class people are suffering under a “two-tier” society despite the state’s booming economy, Socialist candidate for Pearce, Annolies Truman told the WA Socialist Alliance state conference on August 11.

Quoting research from the WA Council of Social Service she said that rent had skyrocketed in the last year. “In 2003 4.8% of Perth rental accommodation was vacant, meaning you could get a house at a reasonable rent,” she said. “But not today. Now only 0.8% of rental accommodation is vacant.” Between June last year and June this year the average rent for a three-bedroom home in Mount Hawthorn went from $260 per week to $600!

“That’s an increase of $340!” she said. “It is the same all over the city. Even in Midland rents for three bedroom houses have gone up by $70 in the last year.”

She detailed the basic food items have also gone up in the last year: Frozen chicken has gone up 14% in the last year. White bread has gone up 15%, milk by 6%, eggs 22 %, even baked beans have gone up 4%. “If you can’t afford to eat you won’t need to go to the toilet,” she said. “Just as well, because toilet paper has gone up by 26%!”

Fuel Watch figures from the WA government show that the cost of keeping a car on the road continues to rise, she told the conference.

“Food, housing and transport are the three major cost items for medium to low-income families,” she said. “But how can they survive if they are pushed out to the urban fringe like Armadale, where rents have only gone up by $28 in the last year or Rockingham, where they went up by $57.” Because of this women and children make up the majority of homeless people in this city, she reported.

“That’s what I mean by a two-tier society. People living the fly in/fly out, highly paid lifestyle are living right next door to people who are suffering terribly.” “Socialist Alliance knows about these things because our members are people on the receiving end of all this.”