Senate backs calls for a review of rent assistance payments
16 October 2019 at 5:01 pm
This follows research showing 170,000 Australian homes were left with less than $35 a day after paying rent
The Senate is calling on the federal government to review the level of Commonwealth Rent Assistance, amid fears the payment has not kept up with rising rents.
Greens Senator Dr Mehreen Faruqi passed a motion in the Senate on Tuesday – to coincide with Anti-Poverty Week – urging action on CRA payments.
It comes after The Productivity Commission found two thirds of low-income renters in Australia were in rental stress – spending more than 30 per cent of their earnings on rent.
This leaves 170,000 Australian homes with less than $35 a day after covering rental payments.
Faruqi said it was fantastic to see the Senate supporting the motion during a week focused on eradicating poverty.
“It is unacceptable that so many people already on low incomes are falling into financial stress just to put a roof over their head. Everyone has the right to a safe, secure and permanent home,” Faruqi said.
“When even the Productivity Commission concludes that rent assistance hasn’t kept up with rising rents, you know we have a problem.”
— Mehreen Faruqi (@MehreenFaruqi) October 16, 2019
Faruqi added that low-income renters in particular were being met with both soaring rents and a lack of appropriate social support.
“I urge the government to act immediately and announce a review so we can get on with resolving this long-running issue,” Faruqi said.
This call has already been backed by the Australian Council of Social Service, which says CRA should be raised by at least 30 per cent – around $20 per week – pending a future review of the payment.
Liberal Senator Jonathon Duniam told the Senate on Tuesday that the Morrison government understood that “having a roof over your head and food on the table [was] crucial to the welfare of all Australians”.
He said the government has spent $4.6 billion in CRA payments and provided states and territories with more than $1.5 billion a year, through the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement.