7 May 2010
The recommendations of the Henry review to improve housing affordability and assist low-income private renters should be taken up in Tuesday’s Budget, says the Australian Council of Social Service.
“Rising housing costs are putting increasing pressures on low-income Australians who are struggling to make ends meet in a tight rental market,” said Clare Martin, CEO, ACOSS.
“The Henry review identified what low-income renters have known for years – rent assistance is too low for many people to secure adequate housing.
“ACOSS is urging Government to take up the Henry review proposal to increase rent assistance and link maximum rates to market rents.
“We have asked for a 30% increase in rent assistance for low-income households which is about $15 per week.
“The Henry review notes that a single unemployed person spends about half of their payments on rent, leaving them with little left for other living expenses.
“Rent assistance levels have fallen behind market rates. The Henry review notes that over the last three years annual rents have risen at an annual rate of 10 per cent, yet rent assistance has increased by only 2.7 per cent.”
“Housing affordability is too important to be shelved without an ongoing commitment.
“ACOSS is also calling on Government to on its build on its excellent $6 billion social housing program and establish an Affordable Housing Growth Fund. This fund would start with a down-payment of $750 million in this year’s Budget,” said Ms Martin.
Media Contact: Clare Cameron, ACOSS – 0419 626 155