MEDIA RELEASE: Productivity Commission report shows need to increase rent assistance by 30%

Media releases | Jan 23, 2020

Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA), with a new Productivity Commission report showing that 40% of Australians receiving rent assistance still live in chronic housing stress.

The Productivity Commission 2020 Report into Government Services shows that 40% of low-income earners receiving CRA are paying more than 30% of their income in rent, while 1 in 8 are shelling out more than half their income just to keep a roof over their head.

The report also shows that the proportion of people finding social housing is dropping as a result of decades of underinvestment in social housing by successive governments.

Everybody’s Home campaign spokesperson Kate Colvin said the updated data shows the scale of the housing crisis across the nation, with Australians on low incomes being forced to pay rents they can’t afford because there is nowhere else for them to go.

“Low income renters are doing it tougher than ever and need urgent relief,” Ms Colvin said.

“Over the past 20 years rents have been rising faster than CPI, the rate at which CRA is indexed. Now the maximum rate for a family is $90 per week, but the median rent in Australia is $436.

“It means that even with rent assistance many Australians are having to make the really tough choice between paying for basics like food or medication or paying the rent.

“At the same time, we’re seeing a drop in the proportion of households living in public or community housing because the housing just isn’t there for people who desperately need it.

“It’s time for the Federal Government to step in, provide leadership on the issue, and fix the broken housing system.”

More than 200 Australian organisations have joined the Everybody’s Home campaign to call for an increase in rent assistance and a national strategy that would provide 500,000 social and affordable homes over the next 20 years.

Media enquiries: Jenny Stokes 0478 504 280

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