98% of rental properties out of reach of minimum wage workers: Report

People working full-time on the minimum wage are locked out of the rental market, with 98 percent of rental housing unaffordable, a new report from Anglicare has found.

The Anglicare Rental Affordability Snapshot found that only 2.2 percent of all rental listings in the country are affordable for a single person earning the minimum wage. This is down from 2.9 percent in 2018 and 2017, and from 5.3 percent in 2016.

The findings come after an ACOSS report last year on poverty in Australia found that there were nearly 30,000 people who are homeless despite working full-time.

In the report’s introduction, Anglicare Executive Director Kasy Chambers said that for people forced into insecure work, the problem is likely worse.

“We know that more and more Australians are working casually. Around one million are underemployed. Their plight is likely to be much worse than this Snapshot shows,” Ms Chambers wrote.

The peak body for working people said that the reports finding showed the urgency of ending poverty wages and moving the minimum wage to a living wage that allows working people to afford a decent a dignified life.

Employer groups have opposed any move to a living wage, with many arguing for either a freeze or a cut to the minimum wage in real terms.

As noted by ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:

“Shelter is a basic right that all people deserve. But the Morrison Government has withdrawn that right and 98 percent of rental properties are not affordable for people on the minimum wage.

“For people in low-paid jobs who are forced into insecure work or can’t get the hours they need, things are even more difficult.

“We need to change the rules on pay so that no person is working full time and living in poverty.

“We have seen the ALP commit to a living wage that provides for basic living costs, while the Morrison Government has rigged the system against working people.

“We must change the government and change the rules so that working people can earn a living wage and win back the basic right to affordable housing.”

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