The Guardian • Issue #2098

Rental market ‘never less affordable’

The 2024 Rental Affordability Snapshot surveyed rental listings across Australia and found that affordability has crashed to record lows. Out of 45,115 rental listings, we found that:

  • 289 rentals (0.6%) were affordable for a person earning a full-time minimum wage
  • 89 rentals (0.2%) were affordable for a person on the Age Pension
  • 31 rentals (0.1%) were affordable for a person on the Disability Support Pension
  • 3 rentals, (0%) all sharehouses, were affordable for a person on JobSeeker
  • 0 rentals (0%) were affordable for a person on Youth Allowance.

In response to the findings, Anglicare Australia is calling on the Government to return to directly funding and providing housing itself, instead of leaving housing to the private sector. Anglicare Australia is also calling on the Government to wind back landlord tax concessions.

The latest annual Anglicare Report on Housing Affordability (ARHA) exposes a scandalous situation, revealing a growing housing inequality in Australia and an unforgivable lack of action by both State and Federal governments.

The latest ARHA shows that for over 54,000 rentals on the market, none or very few are available for people on low incomes. The picture is the same in both capital cities and major regional areas.

The picture is one of growing inequality while in response the Federal government refuses to mount an attack on the problem, preferring instead to rely on old, failed neoliberal policies.

Importantly, ARHA recommends that the government “return to directly funding and providing housing itself, instead of leaving housing to the private sector.”

However, the Federal government continues to show its revulsion for direct financing for public housing by introducing its so called “help to buy” program. There is also Labor’s Housing Australia Future Fund (HAFF), whereby an investment may produce some funds to be spent on housing in the States.

These are fake schemes that do nothing for housing but increase its price, and put it further out of the reach of most young people wanting to buy a home.

The alternative message of Anglicare and housing advocates across Australia – which the CPA has long been fighting for – is to defend and extend public housing.

This message is not being heard by the NSW ALP government, which is continuing to demolish and rebuild public housing despite promising not to during the election campaign.

Similarly, former Victorian Premier Dan Andrews adopted a program of demolishing 44 public housing towers. He also adopted a form of privatisation like the NSW community housing providers program.  These so-called private, not-for-profit companies run public and social housing, allowing the government to abandon its responsibility to provide public housing. 

The system is not working, and the Anglicare report underlines that it cannot provide secure, good quality housing for most Australians. The simple straight forward activity of governments being directly responsible for providing public housing has been proven to work.

Instead of having public housing only 4.1 per cent of total housing stock, our public housing must reach 50 per cent or more. As public housing increases, it can begin to provide answers for youth, emergency, and other housing problems.

We must keep our focus on returning Australia to country with a vibrant public housing sector.

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