Budget must tackle housing and hardship

Ahead of the Federal Budget, Anglicare Australia has called on the Government to raise the rate of Centrelink payments and build more social housing.

“The Government says that this Budget will help people meet their everyday costs. But it has already ruled out taking action for people doing it toughest,” said Executive Director Kasy Chambers.

“The biggest living cost facing most Australians is housing. Our latest Rental Affordability Snapshot shows that the housing crisis keeps climbing the income ladder as rents surge.

“People working full-time can barely keep up with the rent. And people on the lowest incomes – those on Centrelink payments – stand almost no chance finding a home they can afford.

“JobSeeker has been stuck below the poverty line for decades. It’s so low that it’s trapping people in hardship and forcing parents to raise their children in poverty. This is not how anybody should have to live.

“One-off payments won’t solve long-term problems. Australians know this. That’s why poll after poll shows that they want real action on housing and poverty.”

Ms Chambers said that while the Government has announced a new agreement on housing, new funding is needed to turn the housing crisis around.

“We’re calling on the Government to wind back the tax breaks that are pushing up housing costs. The billions they raise could fund as many 500,000 new social homes, bringing down the cost of housing for everyone.

“We’re also calling on them to raise the rate of Centrelink payments over the poverty line. This is major unfinished business that’s backed by almost every major economist, expert and community group.

“Budgets are about choices. This Government can pull more Australians out of poverty and give them a home they can afford – if they choose to.”

Kasy Chambers is available for comment ahead of the Federal Budget and for reactions on budget night.

Anglicare Australia’s budget submission recommends:

  • Raising the rate of Centrelink payments over the poverty line
  • Winding back Capital Gains Tax discounts and negative gearing tax deductions
  • A major boost to end the social housing shortfall of 640,000 homes.