Foreign students get cheap units
Foreign students get cheap units

More than half of the affordable homes built for disadvantaged students at the University of WA have ended up in the hands of foreign students.

Housing Minister Bill Marmion told State Parliament yesterday he was concerned to hear this week that 65 per cent of the units at UWA, rented for 20 per cent less than the private market rate because they are subsidised under the National Rental Affordability Scheme, were occupied by international students.

Mr Marmion said 38 per cent of the NRAS dwellings at Edith Cowan University were tenanted by foreign students.

UWA has 1000 subsidised housing places under the scheme and ECU has 142.

Mr Marmion announced the construction of the 1000 affordable homes at UWA last year, saying the Government had committed $48 million to subsidising rents.

He said yesterday the Government had requested at the time that conditions be set on who could rent the units, which were meant for students on a low income, with a disability, were indigenous, those from rural and isolated areas of WA and women enrolled to study non-traditional disciplines such as engineering and computer science.

"This outcome does not appear to be consistent with the intentions of the WA Government nor the conditions of the offer of the NRAS initiatives made by the Commonwealth," Mr Marmion said.

"We have written to the Commonwealth requesting that the situation be reviewed as an immediate priority."

Shadow housing minister Fran Logan has called on the Government to freeze all its subsidies to student accommodation at UWA immediately because of the university's failure to abide by the conditions set down by the NRAS scheme.

Mr Logan said using the units to accommodate "wealthy, full fee-paying" foreign students went against the scheme's intent.

He said suspending State subsidies should stay in place until UWA gave an assurance in writing that the units would only be allocated to appropriate students.

"This is an absolute outrage and a straight breach of the conditions," Mr Logan said.

A UWA spokesman said the university had complied with conditions of NRAS, with priority being given to domestic students before any remaining positions were offered to international students.

'This is an absolute outrage and a straight breach of the conditions.' " Shadow housing minister *Fran Logan *

The West Australian

Popular videos

Compare & Save

Our Picks

Compare & Save

Follow Us

More from The West