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May 8, 2012

Battler’s Budget? Not so far!

Treasurer Wayne Swan has dubbed tonight’s Federal Budget a ‘battler’s budget, but without measures to address housing costs, Australians for Affordable Housing say the Budget will fail those struggling with the single biggest household expense.

“With one in ten households in housing stress, rents increasing at twice the rate of inflation and almost 250,000 people on public housing waiting lists across the country, a true ‘battler’s budget’ would be investing in more low cost rental housing and addressing the tax breaks that drive up house prices” said Australians for Affordable Housing Campaign Manager Sarah Toohey.

“While the Treasurer would argue that delivering a surplus means the RBA can cut interest rates, interest rates are only half the story when it comes to housing affordability, and only third of all households actually have a mortgage”.

“A third of Australian households rent their home, and won’t benefit one bit from interest rate reductions. The rental market is also where house stress is highest and one in four households struggle to make the rent”.

Research released by Anglicare Australia last week showed not one rental property in Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Darwin or Adelaide was affordable to a single person receiving Newstart, Youth Allowance or Austudy, and very few were affordable to households earning the minimum wage.

“The Federal Government could deliver immediate rent relief to almost 100,000 households with an increase in the maximum rate of Commonwealth Rent Assistance, and make a down payment on the long term by investing in a $2.5 billion Affordable Housing Growth Fund. This is the kind of investment we need to see in tonight’s Budget for those really struggling with the cost of living” said Ms Toohey.

The Australians for Affordable Housing 2012-13 Budget Statement can be found at http://housingstressed.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/AAH_12_Memo_Federal-Budget-Statement-final_SD_060212.pdf

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

Media contact: Sarah Toohey, 0427 563 989. Follow AAH on Facebook at www.facebook.com/housingstressed and Twitter: @housingstressed

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