Low and middle income renters abandoned in Budget

The Federal Government’s failure to invest in additional social and affordable housing in tonight’s Budget will worsen the housing crisis for low to middle income Australians in the rental market.

Over the past year, rents have increased 9.7 per cent while house prices exploded 19.6%. At the same time real wages have fallen, exposing greater numbers of Australians to housing stress and the risk of homelessness.

Research released last week by Everybody’s Home shows at least forty per cent of renters in Sydney,  Melbourne and Brisbane are suffering financial stress. Australians in regional communities are also feeling the squeeze of soaring housing costs, with more than 60% of renters in the NSW regional seats of Robertson, Dobell, Gilmore, Lyne, and flood-ravaged Cowper and Page in NSW living in rental stress, as well as the Geelong-based seat of Corio in Victoria.

Kate Colvin, national spokesperson for Everybody’s Home, said the Budget was a profound disappointment.

“For the last two years workers in industries such as aged care, child-care and retail have been lauded as heroes of the pandemic. But the budget has done nothing to help them out of the rental pincer. People on low and modest incomes need real housing solutions, instead they are getting rhetoric and bandaids.”

The Everybody’s Home pre-Budget Position Paper revealed that constructing 25,000 social housing homes per year would generate annual economic output of $12.9 billion and create 15,700 jobs.

It noted the steep decline in federal funding for social and Indigenous housing, which in 2013-14 was over $2 billion, but is only budgeted at $1.6 billion in 2023-24. Indexed for inflation it should be $2.7 billion.

In 1994, social housing made up six per cent of all housing. Today it is just four per cent.

“The Federal Government cannot continue to shirk its responsibility,” Kate Colvin said. “Social and affordable housing has been an area of shared responsibility since the first social housing was created in the 1940s.

“While some of the States are attempting to make up the shortfall, the truth is that they simply don’t have the financial firepower to fill the gap left by the Commonwealth. National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) subsidies have expired because the Federal Government axed the program, further aggravating the housing affordability crisis. More than 22,000 affordable rentals are exiting the scheme over the next three years.

“Instead of providing necessary support to families struggling in the housing market, this Government is pulling the rug from under their feet.”

To arrange an interview call Nick Lucchinelli 0422 229 032

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