Productivity Commission confirms worsening housing crisis

Today’s Productivity Commission Report on Government Services shows more Australians are being pushed to the brink of poverty and homelessness due to the explosion in rents and the dwindling supply of social housing.

In 2021, an alarming 45.7 per cent of people receiving Commonwealth Rent Assistance still spent more than 30 per cent of their income on housing – the common definition of housing stress.

That was up from 40.5 per cent in 2019 and 29.4 per cent in 2020 (when the Coronavirus supplement payment temporarily improved income security.)

The data reveals the vulnerability of older Australians to the spike in rents. Almost one-third of households receiving Commonwealth Rent Assistance with a person over 75 paid more than 30 per cent of the income on rent.

At the same time, the supply of social housing has not kept pace with population growth. Despite Australia’s population growing 13.2 per cent since 2012, the supply of social housing has only grown by 4.5 per cent.

Kate Colvin, national spokesperson for Everybody’s Home said Australians were being squeezed at both ends of the housing system.

“The Australian rental market now resembles a great white shark, swallowing family incomes almost whole. It’s simply astounding that even after receiving rent assistance, almost half of households are still in housing stress.

“The supply of affordable homes is rapidly vanishing for people on low and modest incomes as rents skyrocket. When federal politicians talk about a supply problem they need to get their priorities straight, we need more social and affordable housing to give people on modest incomes real choice.

“COVID has completely warped our housing market. The benefits are being funnelled to those who already own housing while people in the rental market are forced into a brutal contest for survival.

“The best way to address this is to lift the historically low rates of social housing investment. We need at least 25,000 new social housing units built per year just to begin closing the widening housing gap.

“We also need a serious adjustment to Commonwealth Rent Assistance that reflects the reality of surging rents in Australia.”

Contact: Nick Lucchinelli 0422229032

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