There is growing pressure on state and federal government to urgently act after a new report revealed a majority of Australians are now experiencing housing stress.

A survey of hundreds of people by national housing campaign Everybody’s Home shows one in three Australians are spending more than 30 per cent of their income on housing.

Renters are the hardest hit. The report found four in five residents (82 per cent) were struggling to keep up with rental hikes and were now experiencing rental stress.

Campaign spokeswoman Maiy Azize said Australians were being pushed to the brink and forced to do “desperate things” just to keep a roof over their head.

“These figures and the stories behind them are harrowing. We’ve heard from people worried they will become homeless with their children, renters in extreme hardship, and older women who are considering sleeping in their cars or on the streets because they can’t find an affordable home,” she said.

“It’s no wonder that three-quarters of the people who we survey told us that they were really scared about their financial security for the future.”

Rent for an average unit nationwide had spiked from $365 per week in March 2020 to $500 in July 2023, the report said.

Labor went to the last election promising to establish a $10bn housing fund – the Housing Australia Future Fund – to spend up to $500m per year to build 30,000 affordable homes over five years.

But the legislation has been stalled in the Senate for months after the Greens stood firm on their demand for the government to spend closer to $5bn each year to address the social housing shortfall.

It has since halved that figure to $2.5bn if federal Labor also handed over a $1bn annual incentive for the states to freeze rents.

Ms Azize said the HAFF was welcomed but acknowledged it fell short of the 25,000 new homes needed each year to meet the shortfall.

“I would never want to get between Australians and any one of those homes that’s being proposed to be built, but that is not a plan to build 640,000 homes,” she told reporters in Canberra.

Ahead of a meeting of state and federal housing ministers next month, Ms Azize said she would also like to see a limit to “unfair rental increases” put on the table.

“We would absolutely love to see all state and territory governments commit to a limit to rent increases attached to (the consumer price index),” she added.

“It‘d be the best-case scenario, but if that’s the difference between agreement getting up and not getting up, we’re happy to see every state and territory government commit to taking some kind of action to eliminate unfair rent increases.”



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By Rahul

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