Lift rent supplement by 30 per cent, government urged

Government report shows 40 per cent of Australians receiving rent assistance live in chronic housing stress.

woman suffering from rent stress

Low-income renters are doing it tougher than ever and need urgent relief, according to Everybody’s Home campaign spokesperson Kate Colvin in the wake of the latest Productivity Commission (PC) report.

The annual report on government services provides “information on the equity, efficiency and effectiveness of government services in Australia” in a bid to improve public-sector performance.

Ms Colvin, speaking on behalf of national housing campaign Everybody’s Home, has called for an urgent 30 per cent increase in Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA), with the PC report showing that 40 per cent of Australians receiving rent assistance live in chronic housing stress.

The report says that 40 per cent of low-income earners receiving CRA are paying more than 30 per cent of their income in rent, and that one in eight is spending more than half their income to keep a roof over their head.

The report also shows that the proportion of people able to find social housing is dropping due to underinvestment in social housing by successive governments.

Ms Colvin says the updated data shows the scale of the housing crisis across the nation, with Australians on low incomes 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,” she said.

“Over the past 20 years, rents have been rising faster than CPI (consumer price index), 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.”

YourLifeChoices’ 2019 Retirement Income Review Survey, which attracted 4910 responses from 230,000 members aged 50-plus, asked whether rent assistance – a maximum of $138 per fortnight for a single with no dependents and $130 per fortnight for a couple combined with no dependents – was sufficient.

A staggering 82 per cent said no. Of this group, 39 per cent said it should be increased by 30–40 per cent, 25 per cent said 50–60 per cent, 20 per cent said 10–20 per cent, five per cent said 70–80 per cent and 11 per cent said it should at least double.

The number of homeless Australians aged 65 and over has grown from 25 in 10,000 people to 27, according to the latest Census figures.

Salvation Army officer Major Paul Moulds says all governments must work together to develop a comprehensive long-term plan to tackle poverty and homelessness in Australia.

“An increase of welfare payments by a minimum of $75 per week to ensure that those reliant on government assistance can live with dignity, addressing the causes of cost of living pressures, and the development of a nationally coordinated homelessness and housing affordability strategy would make an enormous difference,” said Major Moulds.

He says that in the past five years the Salvation Army has experienced a 40 per cent increase in the number of people accessing financial counselling.

The Everybody’s Home campaign is seeking an increase in rent assistance and a national strategy to provide 500,000 social and affordable homes over the next 20 years.

Do you believe rent assistance is out a whack with the cost of living?

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    COMMENTS

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    tisme
    24th Jan 2020
    11:12am
    i pay 700.00 per fortnight rent, my income is $1000.00 per fortnight
    Joy Anne
    24th Jan 2020
    12:38pm
    I pay $680p fortnight in rent. To match public housing we need at least $150-200 p.w. increase that would be a great help and could afford to go out occasionally. Never go out and meet people. Isolated due to rent stress.
    Annick
    24th Jan 2020
    11:42am
    We are a pensioner couple renting and our fortnightly rent is $700 which leaves us one pension payment to buy food, petrol, gas, power and water and anything else that crops up.
    Joy Anne
    24th Jan 2020
    12:39pm
    As least you are a couple. Try being a single pensioner paying $680pf.
    Mariner
    24th Jan 2020
    3:35pm
    Joy Anne - nowhere in the world will you find single people housed in affordable rentals the way it is expected here in Oz with the current system in place. My sister is almost 70 and now has an apartment in Zurich she pays $A1900 per month for. Difference is she gets her age pension and her superannuation every month (no Means test only taxation). She manages very well and also is able to visit me here in Australia now and then. Age pension is $A3100 a calendar month and her superannuation is slightly more than that. Tax payable is 10%, health insurance is compulsory, no waiting lists and no pension card discounts.
    Mez
    24th Jan 2020
    12:18pm
    $700.00! There are places much cheaper!
    MOST DEFINITELY, THE RENT ASSISTANCE IS DOWNRIGHT PITIFUL AND DOES VERY LITTLE TO "ASSIST"!
    No wonder there are increasing homeless people, especially elderly women besides young kids!
    REFLECTS OR MIRRORS SOCIETY'S VALUES AND LACK OF RESPECT FOR THE MOST VULNERABLE!
    SHAMEFUL!
    Mez
    24th Jan 2020
    12:23pm
    Last RENT ASSISTANCE increase that I know of was a MEASLY ONE DOLLAR!
    WHAT AN INSULT!
    CONSIDERING THE HUGE PROPERTY PRICE AND RENTAL INCREASES, RENT ASSISTANCE HAS REMAINED STAGNANT AND MOULDY IN STENCH!
    Mariner
    24th Jan 2020
    12:36pm
    Depending where you live Mez, here in the country (larger town) you will still get something for $580 per fortnight but in a capital city $700 might even be a bit low. Here you will still get a 2-bedroom unit for $350'000, in a capital city you pay a lot more so the rent is higher. Unfortunately if you want a cheaper place you might have to move like we did years ago.
    Joy Anne
    24th Jan 2020
    12:42pm
    No cheaper places then that. Depends where u live. I need to be near family as I have advanced ovarian cancer. Leaves $300 to live on. Pay Regos, electricity, water, scripts and food.
    Anonymous
    24th Jan 2020
    1:42pm
    I could live in Bourke dirt cheap - literally.....

    Totally agree with Mariner... fortunate enough to move here with a mortgage (third home from start) just as the market began its upward death spiral... helps property value, but that isn't edible. Been here eight months now and risen 20% .. can't eat it..
    Sinkers
    24th Jan 2020
    12:36pm
    My wife and I receive $700 wk from the aged pension / rent $700k For 2 bed apt in Melb CBD
    panos
    24th Jan 2020
    1:36pm
    $700 is that for 1 week or 2 weeks.....if it's fortnightly thats cheap rent for CBD
    older&wiser
    24th Jan 2020
    3:48pm
    Panos, totally agree! IF for Melbourne CBD, that's damn good!
    Mariner
    24th Jan 2020
    3:48pm
    Stayed in an apartment like that in Spring St in 1981 and paid $A125 per week, so with inflation and so on you are on the money. Was making a good salary and would not live there on the pension only today. I know that shifting to Carlton, Fitzroy would not be the answer, was down there last month and going again next month. Might need to move to Apollo Bay eh?
    DINGOPOO
    24th Jan 2020
    12:55pm
    I find it hard to believe the Government just keeps ignoring the plight of the elderly, and the poor. I am lucky enough to own my own home , and with all the council, and Govt. charges, it is still not easy. The only way l got to own my home was with real Govt assistance in that we only had to pay a small deposit, and easy weeky payments. We moved to a huge housing estate owned by the Govt, and thats how we got a great start in life. My question is why can't the Govt start these home schemes again, they are making a lot more money today then when l bought my first home 55 years ago. I think they are just too busy lining their own pockets.
    Spud
    24th Jan 2020
    1:00pm
    Because that’s not how neoliberalism works! In simplistic terms” user pays “ is The mantra
    Anonymous
    24th Jan 2020
    1:47pm
    ... and if you aren't a 'user' already, they'll find ways to make you one... by setting up 'new' 'services' that you have to pay for, then selling those off as 'privatised' entrerprises and thus causing the cost to double while government still receives its return from its 'shareholding' - worst things that parasite Greiner ever did to NSW, while feathering his own and family nest into perpetuity.. the epitome of the Robber Baron Politician paid by us every way and every day ... not that the likes of Carr were any better... then we had Captain Blackbaird The Privateer, then Captain Hooknose who's never held a real job and knows nothing but standing for photo ops with fire commissioners every day while they attempt to deal with a crisis she has no experience of in any way..

    Ask me again why I vote for none of these parasites... we pay these bastards so they can rob us...
    panos
    24th Jan 2020
    1:34pm
    Damn you renters do it hard, but if they increase rent assistance by 30% guess what your rent goes up 30%....

    It's a rock and a hard place.......damned if you do damned if you don't
    Anonymous
    24th Jan 2020
    1:50pm
    Just like everything else, Panos - you are right... every time an income strand goes up, the prices go up to over-match, so the race begins again.. and again.. and again.. UNLESS this nation/state moves to a controlled economy - something that has a very murky name historically, regardless of who tried it on - the Extreme Right or the Extreme Left...

    I keep telling yez - wage increases are always in pursuit of rising costs of living - that is a major component of any wage claim - ergo - simple reality check says that costs went up first... not second - but they never miss an opportunity to cash in on more money available.
    Dave R
    24th Jan 2020
    1:54pm
    I agree the landlords would see an increase in rent assistance to their tenants as manna from heaven and jack rents up at the first opportunity.
    Best solution for city renters is to leave the city because rents can be much cheaper in the regions.
    Mariner
    24th Jan 2020
    2:53pm
    Got my body corp bill yesterday, $780 for 3 months. Paid the rates for the full year at $2350 with council age pension discount. The place I live in is worth $400'000 - should rent assistance go up a significant amount I shall consider selling the place and rent the same type back. No problem with the extra cash as a non home owner I am allowed $210'000 more in assets. So I pay rent and might get $200 a fortnight in assistance as per wish in the article. I would have money to spend and all repairs and costs are taken in by the owner. Home owners are not always that much better off, folks, they just whinge less about the costs.
    Triss
    24th Jan 2020
    4:55pm
    Yes, Panos, you’re right, no use increasing rent allowance unless you can make sure the increase doesn’t bypass the renter and end up in the landlord’s pocket.
    KSS
    24th Jan 2020
    8:20pm
    Yes Mariner you are right. With strata fees (mine are over $1000 pq now) rates and water plus maintenance costs all that renters don't pay, homeowners are not that much better off at all especially if on the pension AND they can have fewer cash assets too. But no one like to talk about that. After all if you own your own home you are ' lucky', wealthy, preventing the young ones buying property, and should sell up to release the money, right?
    Anonymous
    26th Jan 2020
    5:46am
    Phew - strata fees - at least we only pay rates.....that's enough.
    ex PS
    27th Jan 2020
    8:16am
    Renters pay rates, insurance, body corp fees and many other maintenance fees.
    It's all factored into the rent charged by the owner. They just don't pay for them as a lump sum.
    Business owners are entitled to recover overrhead costs whether it is a retail or service industry.
    It is up to the government to provide low cost housing, not private enterprise. This particular government would rather give tax concessions to the wealthy than afforable housing to the lifters, It's what right wing governments do.
    If you want better social outcomes, you need a socialist government, otherwise it is business as usual, you'll starve to death waiting for social equity to "Trickle Down".
    Jim
    24th Jan 2020
    3:04pm
    Pensioners who have no other income or savings to fall back on should be given free housing, the reasons that some people don’t have other income or savings are many and varied, but at the end of the day somewhere to live should be a basic right, I have friends that have divorced late in life the shareout has not always be equal in some cases the legal profession are the only winners, other instances include older women who have lived a lifetime of abuse and finally when they escape they are left with nothing, I have seen manipulative women who have salted money away for years or gambled their partners fortune away, the last part of that sentence is meant for either male or females, I have friends that have had poor investment advice, I have mentioned before about governments building age care facilities that would be similar to the migrant hostels that were around in the 50/60s they might not suit everyone but I feel sure many would take up the offer, they wouldn’t have to be lavish but their own bathroom and a small kitchen. Anyone not wanting to take up such an offer could continue to receive assistance. I realise that others who are not pensioners also need assistance and that would have to be handled differently.
    Macheke
    24th Jan 2020
    3:13pm
    As I have previously said the Age Pension system needs major reform to ensure that the money is going to the right people. Tinkering with the elements such as rent subsidy is not the answer. The age pension entitlement should be determined based on total assets including superannuation and the family home net of mortgage. This is to avoid distortions between those with a home, with a home with mortgage, decided to sell home and rent etc. I would expect that the age pension could then be increased to assist those with low assets. For those with "sufficient" assets including the family home they can use these assets to live on. If they have substantial assets in family home and not much else they should be able to "buy" the "lost" age pension which is paid for when the home is finally sold (death last survivor).
    Sinkers
    24th Jan 2020
    3:23pm
    Rent is per week
    Mariner
    24th Jan 2020
    3:39pm
    When we were renting it was per fortnight, insisted that is was by direct debit from the bank, advertised as weekly but payable fortnightly. Europe every thing is monthly, even the pension payments.
    panos
    24th Jan 2020
    3:48pm
    Well if you get pension of 700 a week couple I gather and your rent is 700 per week how do you live ???
    Oz in Or
    24th Jan 2020
    4:33pm
    My wife and I receive the government rental allowance. We live in an apartment complex. All apartments are exactly the same. In a recent conversation we found out that our young female, part time employed "refugee" neighbour pays just over HALF as much as we do in rent.
    panos
    24th Jan 2020
    5:11pm
    Typical...................
    CobbityBob
    24th Jan 2020
    4:33pm
    Allotted $69 weekly by Centrelink as CRA, however receive zilch as total amount is claimed by Community Housing which runs the show. This amount is approximately rental increase since this enterprise commenced in November 2018. Conclusion is that CRA to myself & other tenants (16) is worthless as WE don't receive a cent!!! Rent for public housing was previously set at 25% of net income, however this no longer seems relevant-certainly not since the "take-over"by this international company!
    Anonymous
    26th Jan 2020
    5:49am
    **ears prick up** Has public housing been taken over by an Offshore company? I missed that one...

    Thanks, Bob, for the heads-up. Which State?
    retired lady
    24th Jan 2020
    6:59pm
    What is the point of us who live in co-op houses to get more rent relief, the federal govt give it to us now and the state govt take it all away from us saying they use it to help reduce the waiting list for housing. Excuse my scepticism. All I can see us the list getting longer.
    Anonymous
    26th Jan 2020
    5:50am
    Another alibi about consolidated revenue - alibi = a lie by any other name...
    Chris B T
    25th Jan 2020
    10:24am
    When you read the comments made on this site, it reads as if no one is Receiving Rental Assistance.
    There is a amount per week or fortnight without Rental Assistance deducted.
    It makes for a worse outcome when reading by not including all elements.
    {;-(0)
    Mariner
    27th Jan 2020
    5:26pm
    Looked after a single bloke's affairs while he was in hospital 5 years ago and his pension incl. rent assistance was $935 every fortnight. Still got a cheque he had to sign and then I had to take money out of his account to pay his rent. He was old fashioned and did not want automatic rent payments and age pension paid into account. Was rather surprised that this is still possible.

    25th Jan 2020
    2:17pm
    Still with the disappearing comments.. what can a person do? Can't work under these conditions!
    Mariner
    25th Jan 2020
    3:41pm
    Well you managed to come back from the desert. We just have to learn to be politically correct and that, TREBOR, is hard at my age. Do like your avatar, mate - she would kill me stone dead!
    Anonymous
    26th Jan 2020
    5:53am
    I figured a change of avatar to a fine lass would make me less vulnerable to attack from the Philistines... I could accuse them of being a woman-basher.. and a pretty woman at that... the YLC crowd would be up in arms - but if you're just one of Young Greta's "Angry Old White Men" with a Trebor truck symbol - you're dead meat...
    ex PS
    27th Jan 2020
    8:21am
    I thought TREBOR had just been working out.


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