Aspect: Rental Affordability Snapshot edition

Aspect Newsletter

From the Executive Director

Editorial: Rental Snapshot shows who is being left out of the recovery

Kasy ED 4_pref

Last week Anglicare Australia released our twelfth Rental Affordability Snapshot. The Snapshot comes out each year, and each year we’ve come to expect glum results.

There was nothing typical about this year’s Snapshot. It was released as Australia emerges from an unprecedented pandemic and downturn, and as we head into the early stages of recovery.

If you open any newspaper, you will read that this recovery is going well. The Federal Government has been busily trumpeting its success while withdrawing support for people out of work. In most States and Territories, eviction moratoriums for renters have now expired.

But our Snapshot looks at how Australians on the lowest incomes are faring – the ones who were struggling even before the downturn. We found that affordability has not gotten better for these people. It has only gotten worse.

This is at odds with the rosy commentary about our recovery. Australia is bouncing back quickly, we are told. But many people are facing tougher odds than ever in a tight rental market.

Nearly two million people are either unemployed or underemployed. Many are renters, and they are facing a market that has never been less affordable. There are three – yes, three – affordable rentals for a person on the JobSeeker Payment out of over 74,000 advertised listings in our Snapshot. All three are sharehouses.

People on the minimum wage are hardly better off. For them, affordability has halved in the last year. Even families with both parents working full-time would find themselves locked out of 85 percent of rentals.

Don’t bother asking about young people. A person on Youth Allowance would not be able to afford any of the 74,000 listings we surveyed.

No corner of Australia has been spared. We found that affordability in regional areas has crashed over the past year, defying the myth that country areas offer a reprieve from the city. People flocked to regional areas during the pandemic, pricing out many locals. Yet the city homes they left behind are still too expensive for people on low incomes.

This is the ‘normal’ we are snapping back to. Our housing crisis is here to stay. Not even a global economic downturn could slow it down.

But the pandemic also showed that governments can solve these problems if they choose to. In 2020, the Federal Government acted quickly for people in need. And when it comes to housing, it already knows what the solutions are.

First, it can fix our broken safety net. Last year’s boost to the JobSeeker Payment lifted hundreds of thousands of people out of poverty and rental stress. Our Snapshot was taken just as permanent cuts were coming in, leaving them worse off as the market spirals out of control. These Australians must be lifted out of poverty once and for all.

And second, it should make a big investment in affordable housing. The Everybody's Home campaign says Australia has a shortfall of 500,000 social and affordable homes. Tackling that shortfall would give people more options – and stop Australia from becoming a country where only the very wealthy can avoid housing stress.

Perhaps the biggest change we need is to put those most in need at the centre of housing. Renters on low incomes have been crowded out of a debate dominated by investors, speculators, and owners. The Government must acknowledge that these Australians are facing a crisis, and take action to help them.

It is the wrong time for governments to step back. We need them to take real action, and ensure every Australian has a home.

National Office News

National Office News: Rental Affordability Snapshot and more

Rental Affordability Snapshot: Media Wrap-Up
As Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers said in this month’s editorial, the findings in this year’s Rental Affordability Snapshot show that renters are being left behind in the economic recovery. The crash in affordability led to strong interest in this year’s results.

The launch of the Snapshot, held jointly with Anglicare NSW South, NSW West and ACT, was covered by SBS News, Nine News, Seven News, Channel 10’s The Project and ABC News. Kasy Chambers was also interviewed live on ABC News, Sky News, and the Today Show. Sunrise also featured a panel discussion on the results, while Weekend Sunrise conducted an interview on the findings with realestate.com.au, Anglicare Australia’s partner in the Snapshot.

The Snapshot was extensively covered in print outlets. The results were featured in News Corp outlets with a syndicated article appearing in The Australian, News.Com.Au, and across all major News Corp papers. In the days that followed, regional News Corp papers also covered the regional results across the country. The Herald Sun and Daily Telegraph both ran strong analyses of regional trends and shifts this year.

The Snapshot was covered by the Guardian with a focus on income support recipients, as well as a separate opinion piece by Greg Jericho which featured regional data. The national results were also featured in a syndicated piece by the Australian Associated Press, appearing in local newspapers across the country. The Australian Financial Review featured the Snapshot in its property section.

Australian Community Newspapers ran a nationally syndicated piece along with localised analyses in The Canberra Times and its other regional papers. In addition there were countless local commercial television and radio interviews across Australia.

The dramatic results for young people on youth allowance also generated strong interest from youth outlets, with Triple J’s Hack running a lengthy piece on the Snapshot as well as other youth outlets suck as Pedestrian TV.

As always, specialist and community sector outlets covered the report such as Pro Bono News and various outlets aimed at older Australians and people with disability.

Click here to read Anglicare Australia’s media release, and click here to visit the Rental Affordability Snapshot website.

Rental Affordability Snapshot: Resources
Anglicare Australia has produced infographics to highlight some of the key findings of the Rental Affordability Snapshot. These graphics are available to download and re-post, or to share from Anglicare Australia social media accounts.

Anyone hoping for a detailed understanding of the tax breaks and concessions should also read Greg Jericho’s piece in The Guardian, which uses graphs and interactive local data.

The report has also been turned into an interactive website, available at anglicare-ras.com. Each of the regional snapshots is available to download online.

We encourage members to use the Snapshot, the website, and these resources in their advocacy on housing.

Click here to download the full report from the Anglicare Australia website.

Australian Aged Care Collaboration releases response to Royal Commission
The Australian Aged Care Collaboration, which Anglicare Australia is a founding member of, has been active ahead of the budget. In April, the campaign released its response to the Royal Commission’s final report. Aged Care – The Way Forward is a fifteen point plan to implement the Royal Commission recommendations. The plan was covered in all major newspapers as well as TV packages from its launch at Parliament House.

The campaign has also been briefing key political stakeholders and senior Ministers, including members of the Expenditure Review Committee, in efforts to shape the Federal Budget and the Government's expected aged care package. The campaign is now preparing to respond to announcements on Budget night.

Click here to download Aged Care – The Way Forward.

Staffing changes at Anglicare Australia
Anglicare Australia is pleased to announce the appointment of Maiy Azize to the position of Deputy Executive Director. Many of you will already know Maiy, who has been Anglicare Australia's Director of Communications and Advocacy.

Working closely with Executive Director Kasy Chambers, Maiy will be fostering alliances with other peak bodies, helping to lead advocacy efforts, and playing an active role in Network development. Maiy will continue to coordinate communications and media for Anglicare Australia with members and other stakeholders.

Anglicare Australia is also pleased to welcome Eddy Bourke to the team in the position of National Policy and Research Adviser. Eddy's role will include Anglicare Australia’s research and resource collection, policy and research development support and Special Interest Network support. Eddy has previously worked in community housing policy, and as a parliamentary advisor in the ACT Legislative Assembly.

Anglicare Network News

Anglicare Network News

Upcoming Anglicare Australia Network meetings
A number of Anglicare Australia’s special interest networks have meetings planned for May and June.

Confirmed dates include the Chief Financial Officers Network meeting on Thursday 6 May, and the Financial Wellbeing Network meeting on Wednesday 9 June.

The National Reconciliation Network and First Nations Staff Network will hold a forum during National Reconciliation Week, featuring Tanya Hosch and other special guest speakers discussing anti-racism policies and action. The forum will be open to all staff, but HR managers and organisational leaders are particularly encouraged to come and learn about organisational approaches to anti-racism. Details will be confirmed closer to the date. National Reconciliation Week will take place from 27 May to 3 June.

The Aged and Community Network, which recently met to consider the initial reaction to the Royal Commission’s final report, will meet again following the Government’s response to the Commission due at the end of May. This meeting will consider future work, and is set to be held in June.

For more information on these meetings or any other network activity, contact [email protected].

Benetas acquires new 90-bed aged care home
Benetas has acquired Clarinda on the Park, a 90-bed aged care home in the Melbourne south-east suburb of Clarinda.

With the opportunity presenting itself in an area deemed a priority for the business, Benetas moved to negotiate an agreement on the sale with a view to expanding its portfolio to 14 homes across the state.

Benetas CEO Sandra Hills OAM said it was really important for the organisation to continue to look at ways of providing the services Benetas is proud of, sustainably into the future.

“Clarinda on the Park is aligned with our values and strategic direction and we are thrilled to be able to continue the service for the local community for years to come,” she said.

Together with its home care, allied health services and retirement living villages, Benetas supports over 8,500 people in metro and regional Victoria, with the support of some 2,000 employees and volunteers.

For more information, contact Jenni Pattinson at [email protected].

New research from Brotherhood of St Laurence shows JobSeeker rate is plunging people into poverty
April has seen the release of a new report on financial stress commissioned by the Brotherhood of St Laurence. Conducted by the Australian National University, Financial Stress and Social Security Settings in Australia looks at the latest trends in financial stress and poverty through recent decades but also through the COVID-19 period.

The research found that people receiving working age social security payments such as the Disability Support Pension, Carer Payment, Parenting Payment and JobSeeker have have seen their financial stress and poverty levels worsen through Australia’s long economic boom of the last thirty years.

Anglicare Australia and several other groups supported the findings of the report, and called for an increase to paments such as JobSeeker above the poverty line.

Click here to download the report, and click here to read Anglicare Australia's media release.

HESTA Super Fund calls for action on climate health threats
HESTA Super Fund, an Anglicare Australia sponsor and partner, has joined the Australian Medical Association and 55 health and medical groups in signing an open letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, calling on the federal government to scale up emissions reduction strategies to prevent premature deaths and declining health outcomes associated with climate change.

The open letter calls for three key actions from the federal government:

  • Prioritise health in Australia’s Nationally Determined Contribution to the Paris Agreement;
  • Commit to decarbonising the healthcare sector by 2040, and establishing an Australian Sustainable Healthcare Unit; and,
  • Implement a National Strategy on Climate, Health and Wellbeing for Australia.

“By implementing the systematic and ambitious actions on climate change and health described above, the Australian Government will demonstrate its commitment to the health and wellbeing of Australians, the economy, and the environment,” say HESTA and the other signatories.

“This will deliver a decrease in climate change associated morbidity and mortality and the associated economic costs, and unlock substantial benefits from a healthier and more prosperous society.”

Click here to read a copy of the open letter.

Research and Resources

New research and resources: Rental Affordability Snapshot

Rental Affordability Snapshot: National Report
Anglicare Australia
The Rental Affordability Snapshot is designed to highlight the lived experience of looking for housing while on a low income. It focuses on the Australian population who earn the least income – Commonwealth benefit recipients and minimum wage earners. The Snapshot surveys rental listings online on a sample weekend and finds a chronic lack of affordability across the country. The report is available here.

Rental Affordability Snapshot: Regional Reports
Anglicare Australia member agencies
This report collates each of the regional snapshots which combine to make the national Rental Affordability Snapshot. It includes valuable local insights into rental affordability across every region that Anglicare services. It shows that there are not enough affordable rental listings in any part of the country. The report is available here.

Aged Care – The Way Forward
Australian Aged Care Collaboration
The Australian Aged Care Collaboration, which Anglicare Australia helped to found, has released its response to the Royal Commission’s final report. Aged Care – The Way Forward is a fifteen point plan to implement the Royal Commission recommendations. It recommends the Australian Government should immediately focus on the priority areas of human rights, access and choice; workforce; transparency; and sustainability. The report is available here.

Financial Stress and Social Security Settings
Brotherhood of St Laurence and Australian National University
This study looks at the latest trends in financial stress and poverty through recent decades, and also through the COVID-19 period. The research found that people receiving working age social security payments such as the Disability Support Pension, Carer Payment, Parenting Payment and JobSeeker have seen their financial stress and poverty levels worsen through Australia’s long economic boom of the last thirty years. The report is available here.

Policy, consultations and grants

Policy, consultations and grants

Inquiry into ParentsNext
The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights is conducting an inquiry into the ParentsNext program. The Committee is due to hand down its final report by August 2021.

More information is available here. Submissions are due by Tuesday 4 May 2021. Anglicare Australia will make a submission, and feedback from members can be sent to [email protected] by midday, Tuesday 4 May 2021.

Select Committee on Covid-19
The Select Committee on Covid-19 was formed to inquire into the Australian Government's response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and any related issues. The Committee is due to hand down its final report by 30 June 2022, and will conduct a rolling inquiry until the completion of this parliamentary term.

Submissions are open, and no closing date has been nominated. More information is available here.

Inquiry into general issues around the implementation and performance of the NDIS
The Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme is conducting this rolling inquiry, which aims to identify broad systemic issues relating to the implementation and operation of the Scheme. After 30 June each year, the committee reports to Parliament on recurrent issues that have arisen and offers recommendations intended to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Scheme.

Submissions are open, and no closing date has been nominated. More information is available here.

Volunteering Resource Hub offering free resources
Volunteering Australia has launched an online Volunteering Resource Hub to help anyone who helps manage, lead or coordinate volunteers.

The Volunteering Resource Hub is an initiative of Volunteering Australia, funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services. It brings together useful, evidence-based and current best practice resources to support effective volunteer management across Australia. This Resource Hub is coming at a critical time, as volunteering is still struggling with the impact of COVID-19.

The hub and its resources are available here.

Sector Events

Sector Events, May 2021

Upcoming Anglicare Australia Network meetings
A number of Anglicare Australia’s special interest networks have meetings planned for May and June. Confirmed dates include the Chief Financial Officers Network meeting on Thursday 6 May, and the Financial Wellbeing Network meeting on Wednesday 9 June. The National Reconciliation Network and First Nations Staff Network will hold a forum during National Reconciliation Week, with further details will be confirmed closer to the date. The Aged and Community Network, which recently met to consider the initial reaction to the Royal Commission’s final report, will meet again following the Government’s response to the Commission due at the end of May. For more information on these meetings, contact [email protected].

Anglicare Australia National Conference
In 2021, Anglicare Australia National Conference will be moving to a virtual format this year. It will be held on 19-22 September 2021. Our conference team is putting together an exciting virtual program, and the Anglicare Australia Awards will also take place virtually. Members are encouraged to think about outstanding programs and volunteers who could be nominated for the awards. For more information on the conference, or to share your thoughts and ideas, please contact [email protected].

Finance Essentials Training for NFPs
In 2021, Non Profit Training will host tailored finance training for non-profit organisations. Board members, CEOs and Managers of non-profit organisations come to the role with a mix of skills and experiences that makes their contribution to the overall success of the organisation unique and significant. Many don’t come with an in-depth knowledge of accounting or a head for numbers yet their individual responsibilities often incorporate budget development. This course will equip NFP leaders with the knowledge they require to make better-informed decisions around the finances. Click here to register.

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