Housing Stress takes centre stage in Gilmore

A majority of voters in the federal seat of Gilmore believe the federal government has failed to confront the housing rental crisis, with a new opinion poll showing people want greater investment in social and affordable housing, amid skepticism that first home owner grants can fix the problem.

The Everybody’s Home campaign is today releasing the results of a survey of 666 Gilmore voters and separate analysis of wage and rent data in the same electorate. 

It shows the surge in rental prices is swallowing an ever larger chunk of the wages of those who’ve had some of the most difficult jobs during the pandemic, in aged care, child care and supermarkets.

An overwhelming majority of respondents – 72 per cent  thought it was either ‘hard’ or ‘very hard’ for people on low-to-middle incomes to buy a home in their community and even more, 84 per cent, said the same about renting. 

A similarly strong majority 72 per cent believed the federal government had not done enough to address housing affordability, while 76 per cent thought there was not enough social and affordable housing for people struggling in the housing market.

Respondents strongly preferred social and affordable housing or greater financial support for low-income renters as a solution to the crisis than first home owner grants.

“The housing affordability crisis is absolutely top of mind in Gilmore. Politicians who propose solutions that work, such as more social and affordable housing, will successfully connect with voters,” said Kate Colvin, national spokesperson for Everybody’s Home. “Voters are rejecting band-aid solutions like first home owner grants because they know we need to give renters on low and modest incomes the stability of a secure home.”

Wage and rent data demonstrates the cause of the problem. According to SQM data, rents on the South Coast and Wollongong have soared 11.8 per cent and 15.3 per cent over the last year. The average child care, aged care or supermarket worker on the South Coast now forks out close to 70 per cent of their weekly pay on rent. In Wollongong it is more than 60 per cent.

“Rents have surged while incomes have barely budged,” Kate Colvin said. “An ever-greater chunk of wages is going to rent and it’s pushing people in key jobs like aged care, child care and supermarkets to the brink of homelessness and poverty.

“People on modest incomes now have to fight tooth and nail to get a home and maintain it. It shouldn’t be this difficult to keep a roof over your head in a wealthy country like Australia.”

For interviews, call Nick Lucchinelli 0422229032

Fig 1: In the area where you live, how easy or hard would it be for people on low-to-middle incomes to find an affordable home to BUY?

Fig 2: In the area where you live, how easy or hard would it be for people on low-to-middle incomes to find an affordable home to RENT? 

Fig 3: Do you think the Federal Government has done enough to address housing affordability? 

Fig 4: Social and affordable housing is a form of housing that is offered to people on low and modest incomes who struggle to afford rent and face the risk of homelessness. Do you think there is enough social and affordable housing for people struggling in the rental market? 

Fig 5:  What policy would you most like to see the Federal Government use to address  issues like rental affordability and homelessness? 

Fig 6: The recovery from COVID appears to be a major issue for the upcoming election. What priority should be placed on social housing as part of a plan for our COVID recovery?

Fig 7: Would you agree or disagree that providing social housing to people in need provides benefits for the wider economy and community?

Fig 8: Rent Stress South Coast NSW

PDF Versions of the data can be downloaded here:

Fig 9: Rent Stress Wollongong, NSW

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