New data shows that it’s time to fix rent assistance

National housing campaign, Everybody’s Home, is calling on the Federal Government to fix problems with Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) and raise the payment, as new figures show nearly one in two recipients are still in rental stress. 

Statistics from the Productivity Commission’s ‘Report on Government Services 2023’ show about 44 per cent of households receiving the supplement were paying more than 30 per cent of their income on rent.

The report also shows the Federal Government spent about $4.9 billion on CRA in 2021-22, down from a five-year high of about $5.5 billion in 2020-21. 

National spokesperson for Everybody’s Home Maiy Azize says the payment must be reformed.

“Commonwealth Rent Assistance can be a lifeline for tenants who are struggling to cope with soaring rents,” she said.

“With the housing crisis at fever pitch, people need help so they aren’t plunged into homelessness.

“But these figures show that the payment isn’t enough to lift people out of housing stress. 

“It has been decades since there was a real boost to rent assistance. At the moment, the maximum fortnightly payment a single person can receive is $151.60.

“That number just hasn’t kept up with rents, which have surged while the payment lags behind. It’s no wonder that almost one in two people who get the payment are still in rental stress.

“The people who need the payment the most, including those on JobSeeker or Youth Allowance, are often being left out.

“We’re calling on the Federal Government to increase Commonwealth Rent Assistance by at least 50 per cent – and fix the payment so that the people who need help most can get it.

“Most importantly, we need a long-term commitment to build social housing. Today’s numbers show that spending on social housing is falling. If they’re going to fix the housing crisis, the Federal Government is going to have to step up and build the social and affordable rentals that people need.”

LocationProportion of CRA recipients in rental stress

Source: Productivity Commission, Report on Government Services 2023, Housing and Homelessness

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