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Housing market unaffordable to most vulnerable

The Australian Greens say Anglicare's Australia Rental Affordability Snapshot demonstrates the urgent need for an increase in income support payments such as Newstart Allowance.

"The snapshot clearly demonstrates that people on low incomes like income support payments are unable to afford rentals in Australia

"Australia has a huge problem in affordable housing for the most vulnerable. Of the more than 62,000 properties surveyed, there was less than 1% of the rental market accessible for people on income support, this is unacceptable" Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson for Family, Ageing, Community and Disability Services said today.

"Safe and affordable housing is an essential part of maintaining a quality life - whether you are retired, have a disability, are raising a family, caring for someone, studying or looking for work.

"Current levels of income support and rent assistance does not reflect the actual cost of accommodation, either in cities or regional centres.

"This is especially true in regional areas, where none of the properties listed for rent under the Anglicare snapshot were accessible to single people on income support.

"The snapshot also makes it clear that older Australians are also struggling to find suitable accommodation with only 1% of the properties surveyed nationally suitable to those on an a single aged pension.

"While the Government tries to make life harder for those on the Disability Support Pension, only 0.5% of the accommodation options, that is 316 dwellings out of 62,862, were found to be suitable for those on DSP.

"The Government must consider the very real implications that their cruel approach to welfare has on the most vulnerable

"Income support payments need to be increased to accurately reflect the cost of living and help our most vulnerable into safe and secure housing," Senator Siewert concluded.

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