The Howard Government’s failure to put downward pressure on interest rates is putting more and more pressure on vulnerable Victorians trying to find a home to rent in the Warrnambool, Member for western Victoria, Gayle Tierney said.
Commenting on the Office of Housing’s Victorian June Quarter Rental report, Ms Tierney said the Howard Government’s failure to keep down the costs of home ownership was spilling over into the rental market.
“In Warrnambool and across Australia, people on low incomes are finding it harder and harder to find affordable accommodation,” Mr Wynne said.
“The Brumby Government is doing its bit, spending an extra $500 million over four years to build more affordable homes.”
“But the Howard Government has cut funding to public housing and has failed to do anything to make it easier for low-income families in private rental. These figures are a result of 11 years of the Howard Government neglecting low-income renters across Australia and refusing to put in place a national housing strategy.”
The latest quarterly statistics show that median rents for a three bedroom house in the Warrnambool have risen from $180 in June 2002 to $240 in June 2007 – a 33.3% increase in five years.
The statistics also show that median rents for a two bedroom house in the Warrnambool area have risen from $160 in June 2002 to $230 in June 2007 – a 43.8% increase in five years.
“Interest rates are rising and the cost of renting a home continues to increase but the Howard Government continues to sit on its hands,” Ms Tierney said.
Ms Tierney said that the Federal Government’s Rent Assistance scheme was not keeping pace within the increasing cost of renting.
“Even after Rent Assistance, over one-quarter of all recipients are still in housing stress – spending over 30 per cent of their income on rent,” Ms Tierney. “Only 27.5 per cent of new lettings in this quarter were affordable to people on low-incomes, the lowest rate in eight years.”
Ms Tierney said the Federal Government’s failure stood in stark contrast to new ideas from the Federal Opposition on Housing Affordability
“Kevin Rudd has committed to a new scheme to create 50,000 new homes across Australia at low rent – which will help ease the stress on low income Victorians”
“Meanwhile, John Howard says there is no housing crisis”
“John Howard is out of touch and must act now on Housing Affordability” Ms Tierney said.
The Rental Report is produced for the Government each quarter by the Victorian Office of Housing and is based on data from the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority.
The full report is available online at www.housing.vic.gov.au