It’s time to reshape the way we talk about housing affordability, diversity and density in Perth, according to the Department of Communities director of business development Nigel Hindmarsh.

Mr Hindmarsh, speaking on a panel at an Urban Development Institute of Australia WA Solving the Housing Affordability Challenge lunch last week, said there was no one “golden bullet” but one thing that needed to change was the way we communicated about it.

“If we approach the community at the moment and say we are going to put affordable housing in the community, we are going to put density in the community and diversity of housing, it’s usually a pretty negative response,” Mr Hindmarsh said.

“If you . . . say do you want your kids to leave home and live in the same area as you? Do you want your local teacher in your school to be able to afford to live in your community? Do you want your parents to be able to stay in the community and have options . . . it’s a very different conversation.

“But it’s the same thing.

“So for me we’ve got to redefine affordability. We are going through that very same challenge with density at the moment.”

Property expert Gavin Hegney moderated the panel that included Now Living’s Troy Gorton, ShelterWA’s Michelle MacKenzie and City of Cockburn’s Stephen Cain. Ms MacKenzie said that with 14,000 people on waiting lists for a house and 7000 empty rental properties, housing was under pressure.