Anglicare Australia is calling on the government to raise the rate of welfare payments for good. The call is made as Anglicare Australia releases its Rental Affordability Snapshot.
The Snapshot surveyed almost 70,000 rental listings across Australia and found that there is still a chronic shortage of affordable rentals across Australia – even after recent welfare increases.
The Snapshot shows that:
- 1,040 rentals (1.5%) are affordable for a person on the new Jobseeker payment (formerly Newstart), which has been doubled for six months in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic
- Without the increase, just 9 rentals out of 69,997 (0%) would be affordable for jobseekers
- Without the increase, not a single rental (0) would be affordable for jobseekers in the major cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Darwin, or Canberra
- Pensioners and people with disability have been left behind with no increase to their payments
- Just 1% of rentals (743 out of 69,997) are affordable for a person on the Age Pension
- 0.5% of rentals (326 out of 69,997) are affordable for a person on the Disability Support Pension
Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers said the increase should be open to everyone on government payments – and that it should be permanent.
“Welfare increases have given people badly needed relief,” Ms Chambers said.
“But the market is still failing people on the lowest incomes. Our Snapshot shows that a person who is out of work can afford less than 2% of rentals – and that’s with their payments doubled. Under the old rates, just 9 rentals (0%) across Australia would be affordable.
“Age pensioners and people with disability have been left out altogether. They are at the very bottom of the market, and can afford just 1% of rentals. Instead of looking after for them in the midst of a health crisis, we are leaving them to the mercy of the market.
“We must raise the rate of these payments for good. If they are halved in six months – and if pensioners and people with disability are left out – renters will be pushed even deeper into poverty and homelessness.”
Ms Chambers said that more must be done to help people on the lowest incomes.
“We’re asking people to stay at home – so we must invest in homes for people who need them most. Nobody should be squeezed out of the market during a health emergency.
“That’s why we must invest in affordable housing. Our shortfall is massive. We need 500,000 new affordable rentals across Australia.
“Investing in housing would be the most powerful way to tackle the rental crisis – and boost our economy.
“We’re calling on the government to end this shortfall – and ensure everyone has a place to call home,” Ms Chambers said.