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Young people bear brunt of rising housing stress

  • Shocking figures show impact of COVID-19 on housing stress
  • Young renters bearing the brunt
  • Government must look to long-term solution

Shocking new figures showing the number of Australians in housing stress has more than doubled due to COVID-19 provide more evidence that a long-term plan is needed to address the issue.

Shadow Housing Minister Alison Standen said renters and young people have borne the brunt of the impact and desperately need support.

“The survey by the Australian National University paints an alarming picture of growing numbers of people unable to pay their rent or meet their mortgage payments,” Ms Standen said.

“The proportion of Australians unable to meet their regular housing costs jumped from 6.9 per cent in April to 15.1 per cent in May, with renters experiencing more housing stress than mortgage holders.

“What is even more alarming is the number of young Australians affected, with a staggering 44 per cent of people aged between 18 and 24 unable to pay their rent on time.

“With the latest labour force data showing the youth unemployment rate at an alarming 14.9 per cent, it is clear that young people are bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 impact.

“Tasmania’s housing crisis was already well known prior to COVID-19, with Hobart reported to be the most unaffordable capital city for renting, and more than 8,000 low-income households around Tasmania experiencing rental stress.

“These latest figures confirm that, not only has the problem not gone away, but it has also worsened considerably because of COVID-19.  

“While Labor was pleased to see the government adopt our call to extend rental protections for residential tenants, a long-term plan is needed to really address the issue.

“As Labor has suggested in our COVID-19 Recovery Package, the Housing Minister must adopt the 61 recommendations in of the House of Assembly Select Committee on Housing Affordability.

“Roger Jaensch must also revise the Affordable Housing Strategy and Affordable Housing Action Plan – Stage 2, in light of those recommendations, the Commonwealth debt waiver and the current pandemic.

“Labor’s COVID-19 Recovery Package aims to get Tasmanians back into jobs, help those hardest hit by the pandemic and create a better, fairer and more resilient economy and society. I urge the government to take our recommendations on board and help fix our housing crisis once and for all.”

Alison Standen MP
Shadow Housing Minister