The Broome Shire president has used a visit from a McGowan Government minister to urge the State to do more than just talk about the town’s housing crisis. According to a recent Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre, median house rents have surged in Broome from about $600 in mid-2020 to more than $800 in late-2022. Shire of Broome president Desiree Male met with Regional Development Minister Don Punch last week and urged the minister to fund the Sanctuary Road Caravan Park, Key Worker and Over 55s Village, a key focus for the Shire in its efforts to add more housing stock to the market. The Shire is applying for $16.5 million from the State for the development. The project is set to include 91 long-stay as well as worker accommodation, but the Shire needs State funding to complete early works on the currently vacant land before a private developer takes over. Cr Male said Mr Punch assured her that housing was a priority and that he would raise the issue with his Cabinet colleagues. But she said the time for talking “was well and truly over”. “It was great to meet with Minister Punch, who fully understands the issues we face up here, particularly with housing,” Cr Male said. “And while Broome is by no means the only place in Western Australia experiencing severe housing shortages, we have one of the lowest levels of available housing stock and the highest growth in rental costs in Australia. “This has been the case for at least two years and things are only getting worse.” Cr Male said the the State had been consulting since 2021 on Broome’s “chronic housing shortage and high rents”. “During that time, we have seen demand for housing continue to grow quicker than originally anticipated, meaning it is now cheaper to rent in Sydney than Broome,” she said. The Shire of Broome has prepared a business case for the Sanctuary Road Village development. The project is set to deliver housing that can be moved or repurposed depending on the housing situation. “Because it is a bare greenfields site, it will require site preparation, connections, roadworks and other preliminary headworks to make it shovel-ready for the construction of key worker homes and caravan sites,” Cr Male said. “Our plan has been in place for some time, but we can’t put out tenders until the grant funding is confirmed. We can’t just flick a switch and start, which is why I am hoping the State Government will act before the housing situation in Broome gets worse.” Mr Punch was reached for comment.