Canberra’s poorest face greater rental stress  

Canberra’s poorest face greater rental stress as the ACT struggles with increasing rents and job losses, Leader of the Canberra Liberals Alistair Coe said.

Even before the pandemic, the ACT had the highest proportion of poorer Canberrans paying more than 30 per cent of their income on housing, according to a Housing Report on Government Services 2020 released earlier this year. In 2017-18, 73 per cent of poorer Canberrans in private rental accommodation reported being in rental stress compared to only 50 per cent nationally.

Liberals Leader Alistair Coe said the proportion of low income Canberrans in rental stress will now be higher as more Canberrans struggle with job losses, underemployment and increased rents. The latest ABS data showed a 1.9 per cent fall in jobs in from June 13 to July 11. More local businesses have announced full or partial closures since July 11.

“Canberra is the most expensive city in Australia to rent a house because of Labor’s rent taxes,” Mr Coe said.

“Well before coronavirus, the bushfires and the hail, Canberra had the highest proportion in the country of poorer Canberrans in rental stress.

“The catastrophic events of 2020 have only amplified the rental pain for many families and households.

“We know in large part it’s the hospitality workers, the baristas and bartenders who have overwhelmingly taken the hit from reduced business because of the pandemic. Jobs in these industries have fallen significantly and an increasing number of these workers will really be feeling the rental pain.

“Now more than ever we need to do everything we can to reduce cost of living pressures on Canberra households who are really doing it tough,” Mr Coe said.