Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 11 April 2018) . . Page.. 1290 ..
is public housing or managed by a not-for-profit organisation and where rent is set at a maximum of 25 percent of tenants’ income;
(b) implement policies to further grow the supply of affordable rental housing where rent is set at a discount to market, and properties are targeted to low and moderate income households; and
(c) provide the Assembly with a report about the ACT’s participation in the NHHA during the first sitting period after it is signed, including information about:
(i) the methodology used for calculating the level of housing supply needed to respond to projected housing demand as part of the Territory’s bilateral agreement with the Commonwealth for the NHHA;
(ii) which minister(s) and directorate(s) will be responsible for conducting this work; and
(iii) initiatives that will contribute to meeting housing supply, as part of the Territory’s bilateral agreement with the Commonwealth for the NHHA.
This is one of my favourite subjects, but one of the least favourite subjects is the fact that the rental market in Canberra is grim for low income people. Canberra clearly has an affordable housing problem. The most recent Anglicare rental affordability snapshot found that in April 2017 there were 1,280 private rentals advertised in the ACT and Queanbeyan. But using the normal definition of “affordable rental” being one that costs less than 30 per cent of your income, only 29 of those were affordable for a couple with both adults working and receiving the minimum wage plus family tax benefit A as well as commonwealth rent assistance. Only one rental property was affordable where one parent works and earns the minimum wage.
For single people earning the minimum wage Anglicare found there were a whole 51 rental properties, or four per cent of the total, that would be affordable. However, the vast majority of these were in shared accommodation arrangements, and the few non-shared accommodation options that did exist were located in Queanbeyan, which would mean that most people would have to add on the cost of running a vehicle.
There is, in fact, a national rental affordability index which is compiled by SGS Economics in partnership with National Shelter, Community Sector Banking. This looks at rental affordability relative to household incomes for the different states in Australia except the Northern Territory. It shows that on average Canberra rentals are what they regard as moderately affordable. Unfortunately, it also shows that in all but one of the eight categories of low to moderate income household types analysed in this report the ACT is a close second next to Sydney when it comes to unaffordability of our rental market; in other words, for anyone on a low income, we are only marginally better than Sydney. Basically this is saying that we have two classes in Canberra: a class who can afford housing in Canberra and an increasing class who cannot.
I now look at public housing. Canberra was built on public housing, and so was much of Australia. Between 1947 and 1961 Australia’s housing stock increased by