New report shows Queenslanders struggling to keep up with housing costs
Nearly half of lower income Queenslanders are experiencing severe rental stress, according to a new report from the Australian Government Productivity Commission.
The report found 43.4 per cent of Queenslanders receiving Commonwealth Rent Assistance payments in 2022 were spending more than 30 per cent of their income on rent alone.
In 2020, before the state housing crisis, that proportion was just 28.2 per cent.
Vinnies Queensland CEO Kevin Mercer said the report painted a concerning picture of the Queensland housing market, as a lack of affordable housing and rising rental costs continue to put severe pressure on families throughout the state.
“It’s far too common for us to receive requests for help from people who have paid their rent and utility bills, leaving nothing left over for food,” Mr Mercer said.
“Just recently, we helped a single mother provide back-to-school supplies for her kids.
“She told us the cost of rent and living was now so high, she was considering voluntarily going homeless, sleeping in her car just so she could afford to provide an education for her kids.
“That’s a choice no one should have to make – especially in Queensland.”
Mr Mercer said the report highlighted how critical Government support was to keep vulnerable people from homelessness, especially during an ongoing state-wide affordable housing shortage.
“The report found that, without the support of the Commonwealth Rental Assistance (CRA) program, the number of lower income households experiencing rental stress would grow to more than 70 per cent,” he said.
“For many Queenslanders, the CRA may be the only thing keeping them from homelessness.
““With Queensland, and indeed much of Australia, in the grip of a severe affordable housing shortage, it’s time for a serious review of the CRA.
‘Whilst the CRA is indexed, it has not kept up with the rapid increase in rents, widening the affordability gap for those relying on it.
“A 50 per cent increase to the maximum rate would really help Queenslanders keep up with our modern, hyper-competitive housing market and keep many from the looming threat of homelessness.”
In the 2021-22 financial year, Vinnies Queensland provided more than 100,000 nights of accommodation to people in need.