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Echuca an expensive place to rent, survey shows

Low-income earners in Echuca are finding it increasingly difficult to afford rent, according to a new survey.

KATHLEEN TONINI May 1, 2013 4:40am

A new survey shows low-income earners in Echuca are finding it increasingly difficult to afford rent.

St Luke’s Anglicare took a snapshot of rental properties in Echuca, Bendigo and Castlemaine this month, which showed people on pensions and other government payments were struggling to find affordable housing.

The survey showed that in Echuca:

There was no affordable rental housing for couples without children, couples with two children, or a single person with a child older than eight, if they only received parenting payments or Newstart.

Only 18 per cent of rental housing was affordable for a couple on the aged pension and two per cent for a single person on the aged pension.

There was no affordable rental housing available for a single person on Newstart or Youth Allowance.

Two per cent of rental housing was affordable for a single person on a disability pension and 12 per cent of housing was affordable for a single person on the minimum wage.

For the survey, St Luke’s defined affordability as 30 per cent of a household’s gross income, which is the same amount used by the government to calculate public housing costs.

Nation-wide, for single parents in receipt of government benefits, less than one per cent of listed properties were affordable.

Anglicare Australia chief executive Kasy Chambers called on the Federal Government to increase government allowances by $50 a week.

She also called on the government to investigate the effectiveness of Commonwealth rent assistance and target the latest round of the National Rental Affordability Scheme.

‘‘Every year we release these distressing figures in the hope to unearth the broad-based social and political will to ensure a supply of secure and adequate housing,’’ Ms Chambers said.

‘‘But it seems Australia is instead building more inequity, social division and economic inefficiency into the way we live together.’’

St Luke’s Anglicare chief executive David Pugh said the lack of available and affordable rental housing was also placing great pressure on homelessness services in regional Victoria.

For the survey, 51 properties were surveyed in Echuca.

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