Anglicare calls for permanent increase in welfare payments as it releases annual Rental Affordability Snapshot

The Anglicare Australia network is calling on the Federal Government to raise the rate of welfare payments for good.

Today, the network released its annual Rental Affordability Snapshot which highlights the chronic shortage of affordable rentals across the country.

In Tasmania, the Snapshot showed there were few rental properties affordable and appropriate for low income households. Of the 1291 properties advertised on the weekend of March 21-22, none were within the reach of people on Youth Allowance, and only four were affordable and appropriate for those on the Newstart (now Jobseeker) payment. Just six properties statewide were suitable for recipients of the Disability Support Pension.

“The total number of properties listed for rent in our state has halved over the past eight years and many of those listed are now share houses rather than whole properties,” said Anglicare Tasmania CEO Chris Jones.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government announced a temporary Coronavirus Supplement for those on Jobseeker Payment, Youth Allowance and Parenting Payment.

“This is welcome relief that will be spent on necessities like food, rent and utilities,” said Chris. “To make a lasting difference, the increase needs to be maintained beyond six months. It should be made permanent and widened to include the Disability Support pension.

“We need a safety net that will be effective beyond this pandemic. A permanent increase in welfare payments will lift Australians out of unnecessary poverty and contribute to our post-COVID recovery”.

The Anglicare network also called for major investment in housing to address the shortage of affordable accommodation. “Building social housing as essential infrastructure will create jobs and assist with economic recovery in the wake of COVID-19,” said Chris. “The private rental market is unable to meet the demand for affordable housing”.

Current projections are that Tasmania will need 14,000 social housing dwellings built over the next twenty years.

Findings and recommendations can be found in the Tasmanian Rental Affordability Snapshot and the national Snapshot data is available here.

Anglicare Tasmania delivers Housing Connect in the North and North West – a one stop shop for all housing and support needs. It is where people can get free information and advice about housing options including social housing and emergency accommodation. To find out more please call Housing Connect on 1800 800 588.

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