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Feb 9, 2012

450,000 renters deserve better

Australians for Affordable Housing (AAH) today said that the Federal Government’s refusal to increase Commonwealth Rent Assistance was short changing households and have today called on the Federal Government to reconsider an increase in the upcoming budget.

“Surely the first priority in the Federal Budget should be people’s household budgets. Housing costs are the single biggest household expense in Australia, and an increase in Commonwealth Rent Assistance would provide immediate relief to those doing it toughest” said AAH Campaign Manager Sarah Toohey.

“The Government should be able to walk and chew gum at the same time on housing policy. New affordable housing supply is critical, but there are more than 450,000 renters in housing stress right now and they can’t wait for new housing to be built”.

“We know that cost of living is an issue for many households, and housing costs are the single biggest household expense. Rent assistance is an easy way for the Government to make a difference to household’s cost of living right now.

“Rents have risen at twice the rate of Commonwealth Rent Assistance in the last five years, leaving low income households out of pocket as they struggle to pay the rent and make ends meet”.

This week in Canberra Australians for Affordable Housing released their budget statement calling on the Federal Government to increase Commonwealth Rent Assistance and invest in a long term Affordable Housing Growth Fund.  

 Australians for Affordable Housing is a coalition of national housing, welfare and community sector organisations to highlight the problem of housing affordability in Australia. For more information visit

Spokesperson: Sarah Toohey, 0402 677 566/ Media enquiries: Stephanie De Campo, 0432 828 004

Follow AAH on Facebook and Twitter: @housingstressed

  • Biennetam

    Centrelink is one of the greatest sources of imposing further hardship on people on low income, who are barely able to survive, especially the low outdated rental assistance given to renters.
    Like in my case, I am yet to find a new employment this year, and on Newstart allowance.
    I has been penalised for being married instead of single for my rental assistance has dropped from $119.40 to only $87.90 per fortnight. and my benefit rate has dropped from $486.80 to $439.40 per fortnight, given the fact that I receive no financial support from my husband.
    How could you survive each month on such a low income, especially after paying so much rent to the landlord – $290 per fortnight?
    Is it not a high time for all renters to act in one voice and air our grievances to governments of all levels of being unfair to us; we are marginalised to the extreme poverty level?
    If it were not the true and living God helping me, I would have become homeless lying in the street or dropped death by now!
    Bienne TAM
    14th of Feb, 2012.

  • Sandra Martin

    Here in Sydney $300 a week buys a dog box and agents are quite ok in offering these- tarting them up in the photographs, describing them as contemporary living spaces when they quite often are a room with a share toilet and bathroom. Fair Trading could act here I feel. Applicants waste their valuable time, taking time off work, joining the lines of people who are just hoping that for once the ad is a true reflection of what’s on offer- more often that not it is a sad reflection on what is on offer. One agent smirked when he was questioned about the state of the property. They have the power, renters have nothing but their hard earned cash.
    And then there are the agents who just do not turn up, or turn up with the wrong keys.
    And then when you finally get a place to (sort of) call your own you find that the reason the price was reasonable is because the neighbours live in hell and are hell bent on dragging you with them.
    Yes Yes I know that there are ‘remedies’ under the act but seriously folks, who has the time and understanding of the law to pursue the issues- who wants to, we just want to get on with our lives without it being interrupted by rude and unreasonable landlords.
    AND then there are landlords who want to steal your hard earned cash. Again there are avenues for redress but seriously why are these people even in business. recently I came across an agent who claimed the bond and showed photographs that were enhanced to show the grouting in minute detail and called it wax from candles the tenant must have been burning. I wonder how many tenants he has stolen from. He is a crude fellow with a burning ambition to grab the bond off innocent people. What can be done?

    In my neighborhood there are 8 people living in a three bedroom house- all strangers to each other.
    People are clamoring to stay in these hell holes, with few alternatives. It is often said that these tenants ‘are only students/backpackers/singles’ the underlying assumption being that these groups do not really mind being crammed in tiny rooms and paying top dollar. But many renters are not a students backpackers but ordinary tax paying citizen locked out of a decent home.
    There is a rental crisis in Sydney city. The crisis is unseen by most as they go around their busy daily lives.
    This crisis has come about by a mixture of demand; wages that cannot stretch to a mortgage, community housing taking up a lot of the decent affordable stock as they offer powerful incentives to landlords to take them on as tenants.
    How much is paid out to private landlords to provide public housing and who monitors the standards?
    And then the poor exploited students and backpackers.

    The alternative to renting on the private market is public housing and community housing. This model utilizes private dwellings to provide affordable housing to disadvantaged households and those on low incomes needing subsidy to assist them in housing provision.
    But many people do not want to be on the list, bare their soul to see if they are ‘eligible’ and in any case 10 or more years is a long time to wait. They just want somewhere to call home.

    Are we now accepting that the community is made up of the poor the poorer and those who can afford to buy their own property as this model would suggest? It seems to be so. $300 gets a dump in the city, unless you are poor and eligible for public housing or rich.
    In the meantime, housing is overcrowded, ads around town more often than not advertise the attractive parts of the rental, YOUR OWN KEY, ONLY FOUR TO A BEDROOM GUARANTEED , LOUNGE ROOM TO RENT BETWEEN 7PM and 7am.
    Please take a look on gumtree and see for yourself.
    My next door neighbor has had to place notices on the bins stating that only two people live in the property so that the bins will be emptied. There are 9 or more people next door.
    We are not talking about hostels but ordinary homes where people are stacked to the rafters.
    I spoke to Brad Kern of the planning department about the issue and he said quite honestly council does not have the resources to police the situation. These thousands of people, living in unlicensed and unregulated properties are using many times the resources of those who do not overcrowd their properties but use them in the manner they were built for, housing families and individuals.
    The answers are not simple but answers are needed to stop the gross exploitation of the citizens of this city.


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