Australia's housing rental affordability crisis is proving a major cost of living issue for all sides of politics but a greater issue for those on low incomes increasingly facing homelessness.
Anglicare Australia has released it's annual Rental Affordability Snapshot and whereas the picture in past years has been grim, this year it is worse still, revealing a critical situation which if left unaddressed, will leave many vulnerable people homeless or unable to afford food, medications, heating or transport.
The Snapshot surveyed 45,992 rental listings across Australia and revealed less than one per cent of rentals were affordable for people on income support including those on the age pension, while those on the minimum wage could afford just two per cent of available rentals across the country. None were affordable for a person on the disability support pension.
- 720 rentals (2%) were affordable for a person earning a full-time minimum wage
- 312 rentals (1%) were affordable for a person on the Age Pension
- 51 rentals (0%) were affordable for a person on the Disability Support Pension
- 7 rentals, (0%) all sharehouses, were affordable for a person on JobSeeker
- 1 sharehouse (0%) was affordable for a person on Youth Allowance.
Rental affordability is measured as no more than one third of a person's income, however it is already recognised that many people on fixed incomes, such as pensioners, are paying more than 50 per cent of their income to keep a roof over their head, leaving little left to survive on, particularly as the cost of living sky rockets.
"Australia's housing crisis has reached fever pitch. No part of the country has been spared. Rents are shooting up in towns and regions, and our cities have never been more expensive," said Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers.
"We keep hearing that this election is about living costs, but housing is the biggest cost facing Australians. People on low incomes don't stand a chance. Less than two per cent of rentals are affordable for a full-time worker on the minimum wage. For a person out of work, it's 0 per cent.
"Voters are desperate for action. Instead, parties are promising more of the same. At best they are offering grants that overheat the market. At worst they ignore the problem, telling struggling renters to buy a house. That's not good enough.
"We're calling on whoever wins the election to raise JobSeeker and other payments above the poverty line. If we don't, people out of work will be pushed deeper into housing stress and even homelessness.
"We're calling on Governments at every level to work together to protect people from unfair rent increases.
"And we're calling for a big boost to affordable housing. Our shortfall is massive. We need 500,000 new social and affordable rentals across Australia. Investing in housing is the most powerful way to make the market more affordable, and boost regional communities doing it tough after the pandemic and floods.
"We're asking all parties and candidates to walk the talk, and join us to end this crisis for good'" said Ms Chambers."