Is this the biggest contributor to poverty in retirement?

Font Size:

Two-thirds of low-income households that rent are in rental distress, according to a new report from the Productivity Commission (PC). Yet government rent assistance increased by just 80 cents per fortnight in last month’s twice-yearly adjustments.

“More low-income households rent privately than ever before, in part because home ownership and public housing have become less attainable,” said PC Commissioner Jonathan Coppel.

“We found that over 600,000 households are in rental stress, that is, they spend more than 30 per cent of their incomes on rent.”

At the heart of the problem was that maximum rent assistance payment rates had fallen behind average rents over the past two decades, he said.

YourLifeChoices’ September edition of the quarterly Retirement Affordability Index, which will arrive inmembers’ inboxes on Sunday, shows that the Cash-Strapped tribes (couples and singles who receive an Age Pension and rent) spend 29 per cent and 36 per cent of their income respectively on housing.

The PC report, Vulnerable Private Renters: Evidence and Options, concluded that more than one million low-income households (2.65 million people) rented in the private market in 2018, a figure that has more than doubled in the past 20 years.

It said that many vulnerable private renter households struggled to make end meet. Two-thirds spent more than 30 per cent of their income on rent – the common benchmark to identify rental stress – and many spent much more. About 170,000 households have less than $250 available each week after paying rent.

“The fastest growth in private renting has been among households that include at least one Indigenous person, a person aged over 65 years or a person with a disability or long-term health condition,” the report said. “The ageing of the population and changing patterns of home ownership will see growth in the latter two groups continue over coming decades.”

Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) was the clearest path to improving affordability, the report said. However, the rates have not kept up with costs.

“The CRA maximum payment amount has not kept pace with the rise in rents, which has outpaced inflation. As a result, the average share of rents covered by CRA has fallen. Further, the share of CRA recipients who received the maximum payment has steadily increased from around 57 per cent (representing about 566 000 recipients) in 2001 to 80 per cent (representing just over one million recipients) in 2018.”

The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) says the report shines a light on the need for an increase to the CRA.

“Australia is in a housing affordability crisis and entrenched, severe rental stress is one of the most damaging impacts,” said ACOSS chief Cassandra Goldie. “This leaves people without enough money to meet other household expenses … and all too often leads to homelessness.”

Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi has called on the government to increase rent assistance.

“It is unacceptable that so many people already on low incomes are falling into financial stress just to put a roof over their head. Everyone has the right to a safe, secure and permanent home,” she said.

“We need urgent interventions, coupled with significant financial resources and reform of the housing system, or more and more people will be without a home.”

Do you rent? Do you receive CRA? Do you have trouble meeting basic living expenses?

If you enjoy our content, don’t keep it to yourself. Share our free eNews with your friends and encourage them to sign up.

Join YourLifeChoices today
and get this free eBook!

Join
By joining YourLifeChoices you consent that you have read and agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy

RELATED LINKS

No Newstart raise on the way, says Senator Ruston

Minister for unemployment opposes ‘near-universal' calls to raise paltry Newstart payments.

Rent assistance rates payable from 20 September 2019

The new payment rates and limits for rent assistance.

Australian retirees’ happiness on the slide, index finds

Australia's global retirement ranking is dropping as fast as the official cash rate.

Written by Janelle Ward

77 Comments

Total Comments: 77
  1. 0
    0

    I pay 700.00 per fortnight rent out of 1000.00 pension stressed doesnt describe it

    • 0
      0

      Yes i pay $680 per fortnight plus electricity and water. Rental assistance should double to $250 per fortnight.

    • 0
      0

      Get something smaller or share

    • 0
      0

      Virginia while I am not in a stressed situation re rental your comment smacks of Joe Hockey’s suggestion that if you want to buy a house get a better job. Totally out of touch with the reality of the situation.

    • 0
      0

      Virginia while I am not in a stressed situation re rental your comment smacks of Joe Hockey’s suggestion that if you want to buy a house get a better job. Totally out of touch with the reality of the situation.

    • 0
      0

      Pardon me if I don’t cry a river for renters.

      I own my own home free & clear, & have done for years.

      I don’t pay rent of course, but I do pay,

      Rates,……………….$3260 PA.
      Insurance,…………..$2560 PA.
      Maintenance,,………$6300, roof & fence repairs last financial year.
      Sub total,……………$12120. Plus numerous minor things like plumbing

      This represents slightly less than 50% of my pension

      Right now I need the other half of the guttering replaced, & a new water tank, {no town water], a grease trap replaced & the septic pumped out, so I would love it if someone else had to pay for repairs.

    • 0
      0

      I pay half that total Hasbeen and I live in a not for profit village.
      o maintenance, all repairs done, great lifestyle and never lonely.

    • 0
      0

      Yes I have to agree Hasbeen. And you can add strata fees to your total for those in units as opposed to houses. In my case that is another $3300 PA. Others pay far more for example if there is a lift, which we don’t have.

    • 0
      0

      Renters don’t have a home worth hundreds of thousands so, of course, they are worse off.
      There is no comparison because choices are few.

    • 0
      0

      Most Homeowners Paid Out A Lot of Money and interest to Loan Provider.
      Additional costs over the the years, some interest Rates of 16% not the 3% now.
      A minority my have been Gifted a Dwelling from a deceased estate.
      The choice was to buy or rent when rents where cheaper.
      I’ve worked and same earnings with others, some choose to buy others choose to rent because they can rent closer to work place.
      Yes Choices are a Plenty.

    • 0
      0

      In light of the lack of choices that older renters face, people boasting about owning their own home outright is very poor form & the lack of empathy verges on psychopathy.
      You haven’t lived in the real world that many people live in if you seriously think there are “choices-a-plenty”.

      Banks won’t give older single people a loan, job or no job, so stop shoving that one in their faces.

      If you are old or young, you cannot buy a home without a deposit. If you don’t have a 20% deposit, you have to pay the additional burdon of Mortgage Insurance.

      In today’s real estate market with unheard of low interest rates (.75% set by the Reserve Bank this week), you may well lose everything if you default. There are many people on very shaky ground right now, who will lose everything if they default, because their property is worth less than when they bought the mortgage.

      Many older women who rent are on the precipice of homelessness. Their husbands dumped them for younger models while the wife squandered her youth & chance of a career caring for the children, a thankless & moneyless option. HER only choice was to not have any children. I know a lot of young couples who have decided not to have children because they see it as this choice: children OR a mortgage.

  2. 0
    0

    I pay $540 p/f and get $95? rent assistance. I get $750 p/f pension. Fortunately my son also pays $540 p/f but he receives no rent assistance. We split all utilties. I manage, but with my medical and transport costs, plus food and other expenses there’s not much left. I don’t drink or smoke. Life is hard.

    • 0
      0

      How come you only get $750 per fortnight pension. Something wrong there.

    • 0
      0

      At $270 a week you should be getting full rental assistance :-

      “The rent threshold is $123.20. For every $1.00 of rent paid that is over the threshold, the single pensioner will receive $0.75.”

      Something not right there…. I’d talk to Colonel C’Link…

      (plane load of Centrelink honchoes crashes on an old farmer’s land – in a few hours the rescue team runs up, and asks him if there are any survivors…. he says , “Nope – buried ’em all with me tractor!” Rescue team is aghast – “None survived?”

      “Well” – says the bushie – “some reckoned they were alive, but you know what liars they all are.”)

  3. 0
    0

    The government needs to have public housing for the Aged pensioners. Maybe like a retirement village model. But always be kept in governments hands as we have all seen what happens when governments sell to the private sector !!! Profits profits profits at the expense of the people
    If more public housing were to be built then more jobs, more happy pensioners and more work for the administration. Sounds like money but a very needed scenario. Pensioners would have more liquid monies to spend and so put back into the economy not just the realty

    • 0
      0

      When you say the Government, you mean tax payers. Why would tax payers want to fund an Aged Pensioner Retirement Village.

    • 0
      0

      McDaddy.

      Correct they are much better off funding space exploration and handing themselves massive pay increases. Oh and lets not forget the millions spent on assisting developing countries including China, who recently showed off just how poor they are with their 70th celebration of communist rule. Far more important than Australian pensioners.

    • 0
      0

      Because, McDaddy, they are the ones who are moving towards retirement and pension themselves and will be accessing taxpayers funds for their own pensions.

    • 0
      0

      Its hard to believe that people like McDaddy are so against looking after the vulnerable where have all the true Aussies gone once upon a time we were known as a caring people

    • 0
      0

      Great point, Triss. Yes, we ARE (or were) the taxpayers.

      Or, as for many older women, they volunteered their time & services (either in the community or raising children or caring for elderly parents), that contributed enormously to our economy, unpaid (& untaxed) though it was.

      A lot of well-off people think only they should be entitled to services because they paid taxes all their lives. The ugly truth is that the extremely rich pay very little tax – it’s the low & middle earners who pay most of the tax gathered by the ATO.

    • 0
      0

      Hoohoo, facts, please. Higher incomes pay by far the greatest percentage of the tax take.

    • 0
      0

      Sceptic, you would expect that higher income earners would automatically be paying more tax, but they don’t. It’s like a secret club that the common folk don’t ever hear about because they didn’t inherit or have enough money for the membership fees.

      Everyone I know who earns a high salary gets tax breaks via negative gearing & salary sacrificing to further feather the nest for their retirement. So on paper, they are paying less tax than their salary would suggest they would.

      Some retired people who have large share holdings don’t pay any personal tax at all. Not only do they not pay tax, THEY EVEN GET A REFUND in the form of franking credits. These people actually drain the “welfare” coffers!

      Extremely rich people have Family Trusts to divert income into their various business schedules, so they don’t pay their share of the tax burden at all. Kerry Packer paid less than 1 cent in the dollar in tax, even at the height of his media mogulship.

      I suppose their biggest contribution is that they employ a lot of accountants & lawyers, but unfortunately, these people also know how to not pay much tax.

      So the burden of tax falls onto teachers, nurses, the police & others on moderate incomes. The LNP has just given everyone a tax cut but of course the highest earners have received the biggest cuts.

    • 0
      0

      Sceptic is correct. In this case the income tax payments by earnings was essentially the 80/20 rule for 2017/2018. The top 20% of adults paid an estimated 78.7% of all income taxes. The next 20% paid a further 18.5%. The next 20%, your middle income earners, paid 2.8% and the low income earners don’t even figure into the discussion.

      Obviously the percentages for other taxes like GST, CGT etc are excluded from these numbers however NATSEM modelling shows the top 20% of households pay roughly double the GST of the average household and three times that of the bottom 20%.

      Clearly there can be no doubt as to which demographic pays the greatest percentage of the tax take.

    • 0
      0

      Cherry-picked statistics like this can turn out to be damned lies, Farside. Who invented this 80/20 rule description? And where do you think Kerry Packer would have fitted in your 80/20 vision?
      By quoting that top 20%, you are ignoring the vast variation of people in that group. I’d like to see 1% or 2% bands in that top 20%, then we’d see some truth. It’s not a “normal” bell curve of distribution where the average is in the middle. It’s more like a slippery dip at Luna Park, with a very long tail at the bottom end.

      For example, the “top 20% of adults paid an estimated 78.7% of all income taxes.” This 20% figure includes pensioners, people in nursing homes & hospital, child-rearers & other carers, students, volunteers, the unemployed & prisoners. So don’t imagine this figure of 20% only includes tax-payers, just 20% of adults.
      But the other 80% will include the vast majority of the people from the categories of adults I have identified above.

      A more truthful statistic would be to compare the wealth of a person to how much tax they pay.

    • 0
      0

      Feel free to present your statistical support Hoohoo if you have a different point of view. I have no idea what proportion the top 1% or 2% bands pay but there is little doubt the curve is steep with a long tail. NATSEM modelling for 2015 showed the top 10% of taxpayers paid 52% of income taxes.
      https://theconversation.com/factcheck-is-50-of-all-income-tax-in-australia-paid-by-10-of-the-working-population-45229

      Where Kerry Packer and other elites might rank among taxpayers is irrelevant as it is well known that many wealthy arranged their affairs to minimise taxes. Regardless, the top 20% of taxpayers (ranked highest to lowest) paid almost 80% of income taxes for 2017/18.

      In the absence of evidence to the contrary, I refute your contention the top 20% is characterised by “pensioners, people in nursing homes & hospital, child-rearers & other carers, students, volunteers, the unemployed & prisoners”. The distribution within the top 20% of taxpayers is irrelevant to the contention that low and middle income earners pay the majority of income tax, given the bottom 60% pays less than 3% of personal income taxes.
      https://www.abc.
      et.au/news/2018-05-22/tax-paid-by-the-wealthy-depends-on-how-you-do-the-numbers/9784536

    • 0
      0

      But Farside, you’ve just changed the goalposts dramatically by now quoting % of taxpayers, whereas your 80/20 quote was for all adults, not all taxpayers. HUGE DIFFERENCE!

      Then you go on to admit “Where Kerry Packer and other elites might rank among taxpayers is irrelevant as it is well known that many wealthy arranged their affairs to minimise taxes. Regardless, …”

      Irrelevant??? Regardless??? Your words.

      Then you go on “In the absence of evidence to the contrary, I refute your contention…”. Seriously, you sound like the inventor of Robodebt.

  4. 0
    0

    They need to provide government housing, but separate government housing for age pensioners where they can live in peace…

    So much of the government housing is damaged from the lifestyle of the people living there… Neighboring properties where owners have just forked out half a million dollars, often get harassed.

    • 0
      0

      Why separate older people into ghettos? Any public housing should be a mix of people in the community who really need it not the sole preserve of one group over another.

    • 0
      0

      Yes, I agree with you, KSS.

    • 0
      0

      … because we don’t want sane and civilised elder citizens mixing in with druggoes, losers, and the insane who should be in a mental institution – jeez – instead of selling those off they could have made them into retirement homes….

      You don’t want your granny caught up in a turf war between Tudanese and Ayrab gangs, do you? T’falc is wrong with some of you? Have you ever seen some of these modern ghettoes and who lives there?

    • 0
      0

      Correct KSS and Trebor your attitude is one that will result in no change for the better.

    • 0
      0

      Correct KSS and Trebor your attitude is one that will result in no change for the better.

    • 0
      0

      You want granny in with the drug fiends etc? Good luck…

      Incorrect KSS and Tanker…. get back on the side of the angels …

    • 0
      0

      TREBOR your abject racism is quite appalling.

    • 0
      0

      Why? You ever noticed certain gangs, and noticed trends in other ‘developed’ countries that have such mixed low cost housing?

    • 0
      0

      And HOW do you notice these “certain gangs” TREBOR? Is it because they’re easily identifiable by their black skin? Would you even identify them as a gang if their skin was white? KSS is correct – it is racism.

      No-one is suggesting placing older people together in any sort of ghetto. Or is this simply the word you use for areas where poor people live?

  5. 0
    0

    I live on the DSP, rent and can afford my expenses every fortnight.

    I live in a rural city where the benefits of living include cheaper rents and fresh air every day. There may be some drawbacks to living here – fuel prices from $1.349 – $1.499, and more than likely having to use the car more often due to 5.5 days of public transport, but there’s a Coles, Woolworths, Aldi & Discount Grocery Warehouse (ex-Shepparton Cannery) all within 1km of each other. The major shops of BigW & Best & Less are in the local shopping centre. Further afield are Kmart, Target, JB Hi-Fi, Lincraft, Spotlight & Bunnings. So we’re not starved for good shopping.

    I only refill my car every 6 weeks, even though it’s my main form of transport.

    • 0
      0

      Don’t quite associate your circumstances with living in a rural town. I have recently helped a single Aged Pensioner friend move back to the city from a real rural town as the costs were far too prohibitive.
      One supermarket, 400kms from the nearest Aldi, 1 chemist. NO public transport. Almost zilch to do for seniors. Extremely limited medical services – had to fly to see specialists, flights costing over $450. Or bus for $145, taking 12-14 hours. Summer days always around 40 degrees, so air con a necessity not a choice, no power provider choice. Unless you lived in a real dump, could not rent anything ‘liveable’ under $250 a week.
      She has managed to find a lovely little place in city only $10 a week more than she was paying in country town, walking distance to bus and train. So much happier and able to manage. Yes, it is tight, but as she says – more important for ‘quality of life’.

  6. 0
    0

    I live in thailand on a age pension but i loose about $50 a fortnight,not by choice but by the fact i can not afford to pay rent in Oz,here i pay $320 a month for a 4 bed room full aircon house not in the main tourist ares,food,fuel,electricity is far cheaper but there are many hoops to jump through with their 3rd world laws,i believe our biggest problem is that most of the goverment housing is given to refugees and country shoppers leaveing a 10 year wait for public housing,cheers

  7. 0
    0

    How come there is public housing x asylum seekers n other migrants and not for retired Aussies????

    • 0
      0

      Agree,the thing that erks me is we worked for 40-50 years and paid taxes these people that get all the public housing have never paid 1 cent in taxes,but get all the benefits,,,

    • 0
      0

      good idea Blinky, move the retired aussies in with the asylum seekers and other migrants.

    • 0
      0

      Very good comment!

      A staggering amount is spent on foreign aid and asylum seekers while farmers that feed the nation struggle and Seniors that help build this nation and paid super tax and high interest rates all their lives live in poverty.

    • 0
      0

      A few gulags wouldn’t go astray…. some suggest that older people could buy somewhere remote and cheap……. sure, sure…. and then pay more for everything..

    • 0
      0

      People who migrate to Australia through the proper channels are not eligible for public housing, (nor Centrelink payments for at least 2 years). They have to be self-funding and proving they have the funds to do so is part of the migration application process.

      Refugees and compassionate protection visa holders are quite a different matter and deserve help and that includes housing and financial support.

      Irregular and illegal arrivals on the other hand are housed in detention centres at first and then, when there are children involved, they may also be house in the community which may well mean public housing or at least public paid for housing. Frankly, I too disagree with this but the numbers are relatively small and leaving them in detention (where they may well belong) would do little to ease the public housing shortage whether for the homeless, low income families or indeed age pensioners.

    • 0
      0

      This is a hypocritical game – comparing & pitting one disadvantaged group against another, by saying one group doesn’t get help because another group does get help. However, it’s a very effective game, as witnessed in the last federal election.

      I have a right-wing & racist friend who has a quite average-paying job, yet she owns a beautiful house with spectacular ocean views & a large pool. It’s worth over $1million. She never stops whingeing about people on welfare taking money from govt coffers, yet she has no problem about people taking money from govt coffers in the form of Franking Credits. It’s HER taxes paying for welfare but she doesn’t care that it’s HER taxes going to people wealthy enough to own shares & paying no tax.

      Basically, she’s OK Joe & she imagines if she can do it, so could anyone else if only they had a better work ethic.

  8. 0
    0

    I remember Senator Gary Humphries, wasn’t it, as far back as 2007, who said it was “a good thing” many of them [elderly battlers] had lived through hard times in the past. He said he could not live on the single aged pension and it was fortunate the elderly were “used to the kinds of conditions that some of them now face”.
    This was before he left parliament with an $80,000 indexed pension for life with plenty of extras and perks’

    • 0
      0

      Triss he had Superannuation not a pension. It’s called an income stream when it is generated by a superannuation fund. On $80 000 income stream he would be ineligible for an aged pensions, thousands in concessions and would be paying tax on the untaxed portion of the super income stream.

      You should research this as you have some idea these people just get a pension but they don’t. They saved and received employer benefits like other workers. Very generous but then so is the aged pension and concessions for someone who didn’t save anything at all to get that income.

    • 0
      0

      Don’t agree with you, Rae. I don’t see many aged pensioners being given multiple, business class holidays every year like ex pollies along with their pensions. Also the ex MPs who left parliament twenty or thirty years ago aged in their thirties themselves will probably go on for another thirty or so years and they most certainly couldn’t have saved anything like what they’ve received from the taxpayers.

    • 0
      0

      there’s no point in crying over spilt milk Triss. We elected those young politicians and knew full well at the time what the rewards were and are for a career in politics. The outcry over largesse received by the likes of Senators Bill O’Chee and Natasha Stott-Despoja resulted in the changes that restricted the defined benefits scheme to MPs and senators elected before the 2004 Federal Election.

    • 0
      0

      That’s a vacuous statement, Farside. Of course we voted for politicians – we’d be fined if we didn’t vote.

      Politicians were the only ones standing for election, unfortunately, so we voted for them.

  9. 0
    0

    I must admit I’m grateful for the age pension and I manage to live comfortably on it, mainly as this article suggests because I don’t need to pay rent and have no debt.

    There is a negative sentiment towards seniors though. We often see comments like the one from FARSIDE : “good idea Blinky, move the retired aussies in with the asylum seekers and other migrants.”

    Government is hardly honouring our seniors either and makes me feel like a second class citizen begging for handouts…

    Let’s face it, we are not wanted, appreciated or welcome in our own country unless we pay money and lots of it.

    Does it not count for anything that many of us, like me, was employed all my working life, paid super tax and high interest rates.

    This economy you are enjoying so liberally today has foundation blocks laid by the sweat of someone brow!

    • 0
      0

      Time we showed ’em all what we’re made of and marched on Canberra…. well… maybe we need to march with our votes…

    • 0
      0

      Ironman, you have selectively quoted out of context to make your point. My earlier comment is not negative sentiment. Blinky was arguing public housing should be provided to retired aussies, not just asylum seekers and other migrants. I think public housing for all who need it is a positive social attribute. And though public housing is indeed a handout, receiving it should not be seen as a basis for distinguishing between second class and other classes of citizens if you choose to make such distinctions. How is this negative sentiment or making you feel like a second class citizen?

      How would public housing make you feel more wanted, welcome and appreciated even though you are by your own admission already living comfortably in your own digs?

      Paying taxes and loan repayments is not remarkable in a healthy economy and those that do should not be seen as deserving special recognition.

    • 0
      0

      This is what you said, Farside. I quote your entire post in full context:

      “good idea Blinky, move the retired aussies in with the asylum seekers and other migrants.”

      You clearly suggest you think it’s OK for retired Aussies who don’t own their own homes, to move in with other public housing recipients.
      Ironman162, along with myself & many others I expect, see this as insulting & degrading to elderly people who are forced to rent, suggesting they can be jammed into houses with other poor people because they don’t deserve any privacy or dignity.

  10. 0
    0

    Due to the ‘greed is good’ of serial house ownership without real equity (how does a single house company have ‘equity’ and ‘income’ sufficient to prove to a bank that it can service an investment loan when that company is set up to purchase on property, may one ask???*), the massive importation of numbers of people** to drive up costs of housing as a policy to support a failing economy***, and the utter failure of governments respective to actually have a plan to incorporate future population expansion apart from flooding the major cities.

    * ‘Slim’ Mehajer’s uncle had fifty properties, each held by a single company so that in the event of collapse, he had zero liability. I ask again – how does a company with one purpose and no visible income and assets get a housing loan? Something is rotten in the State Bank of Denmark…

    ** driving up prices of homes by importing masses of people merely gave impetus to the vultures and parasites already in the serial housing industry – one which is a net tax loss, BTW – as described yesterday in the strand about where tax money is ambushed and subverted, and it ain’t when it goes to social security – and thus lead to massive escalation in rents along with the inability of the ordinary person to even honestly get into a home of their own.

    *** it was all beer and skittles when the Chinese government was giving its citizens free or very low interest loans to buy up property here…. wonder what the real strategy was? Own property, become dual citizens, next stop Austrochine – the Far Southern Province.

Load More Comments

FACEBOOK COMMENTS



SPONSORED LINKS

continue reading

COVID-19

Concerns over limited data on how vaccine will affect over-65s

There are growing concerns that the vaccine expected to be given to the majority of Australians when the rollout starts...

Nutrition

Making healthy eating more affordable

Eating a healthy diet is crucial to our mental and emotional health as well as our physical wellbeing. It can...

News

Hands up who's in the club that is wrecking the planet

Alex Baumann, Western Sydney University and Samuel Alexander, University of Melbourne Among the many hard truths exposed by COVID-19 is...

Stylewatch

The most iconic handbags of all time

While countless clothing trends have come and gone, certain handbags have remained desirable across the decades, as coveted now as...

Health news

Health check finds Australia is stressed and obese

One quarter (25.6 per cent) of Australians undergoing a health check have been identified as at risk of developing diabetes....

Finance News

Financial planning costly and complicated, say review submissions

A review of the financial advice sector seeking to cut red tape and provide affordable advice could lead to more...

Diseases

Types of polyps and what to do about them

Polyps are clumps of cells that grow inside your body. While most polyps aren't dangerous, some can develop into cancer....

Finance

How SMSFs invested in 2020 - and what this means for 2021

The size of the self managed super fund (SMSF) market now represents one-quarter of the Australian superannuation industry and sits...

LOADING MORE ARTICLE...