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$110 per week: Inside the only rentals Aussies on Centrelink can afford

With rent prices climbing to record levels, Australians on welfare payments have very limited options. Would you want to live here?

A composite image of two rental properties Aussies on Centrelink could afford.
The rent crisis has reached a dire level for Aussies reliant on Centrelink payments. (Source: realestate.com.au)

Any Aussie renter would be able to tell you just how difficult finding a home has become but, for those who need the most help, the situation is dire.

A new report from Anglicare Australia revealed that, out of more than 45,000 rental listings across the country, only four were affordable for someone on JobSeeker and none could be afforded by someone on Youth Allowance.

“Each year, we think the market couldn’t get any worse. And each year, we’re shocked to see that it can,” Anglicare Australia executive director Kasy Chambers said.

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“This year’s result is the worst we have ever seen for a person on the minimum wage, with affordability halving over the last year. This is the first time we have ever seen the number of affordable listings for a full-time minimum wage earner crash to below 1 per cent.

“If full-time wage earners are doing it tough, then people on Centrelink payments don’t stand a chance. Less than 1 per cent of rentals are affordable for a person on the age or disability support pensions. For a person out of work, it’s 0 per cent – and that includes the highest rate of rent assistance.”

What can someone on Centrelink afford?

Out of the four properties nationwide affordable for someone on JobSeeker, only one was located in a capital city.

This one bedroom in Sydney’s Cabramatta is available for $110 per week and is described as a semi-detached home. It has one bedroom, one bathroom and one car spot.

The exterior of the home at Cabramatta that a person on JobSeeker could afford.
The home in Cabramatta is the only rental in the country available in a capital city that would be affordable for someone on JobSeeker. (Source: realestate.com.au)
The kitchen and bathroom of the home at Cabramatta that a person on JobSeeker could afford.
The Cabramatta home has one bedroom, one bathroom and one car space. (Source: realestate.com.au)

Another home, located a nearly-two-hour drive from Sydney’s CBD in Shortland, is also available for $110 per week.

It also has one bedroom and one bathroom and is a single room available in a nine-bedroom share house.

The exterior of the home in Shortland available for rent.
The rental in Shortland is just a single room available in a large share house. (Source: realestate.com.au)
The bedroom and kitchen of the home in Shortland available for rent.
There is a single room, only large enough to fit a single bed and a shared kitchen space. (Source: realestate.com.au)

The third rental was located a whopping 5 hours and 52 minutes from the Sydney CBD in Barraba, also for $110 per week.

It appears to be a studio apartment but details of the property are scarce because the listing has been removed.

The exterior and laundry of the rental property in Barraba.
The rental Barraba is over five hours drive from the Sydney CBD. (Source: realestate.com.au)
The bedroom and bathroom of the rental property in Barraba,
It appears to have a very small single bedroom. (Source: realestate.com.au)

The fourth property was another room available inside a larger free-standing home in Home Hill Queensland - a 14-hour drive from the Brisbane CBD.

This room was also being rented out for $110 per week.

The exterior off the rental property in Home Hill.
The rental in Home Hill is another sharehouse with a single room available. (Source: realestate.com.au)
The kitchen and bedroom off the rental property in Home Hill.
While it appears to be in good shape, it is a 14 hour drive from Queensland's capital. (Source: realestate.com.au)

What is the maximum affordable rent for Aussies on Centrelink?

Household type

Payment Type

Maximum Affordable Rent per week

Couple, two children
(one aged less than 5,
one aged less than 10)

JobSeeker
(both adults)

$289.79

Single, two children
(one aged less than 5,
one aged less than 10)

Parenting Payment Single

$254.77

Couple, no children

Age Pension

$259.62

Single, one child
(aged less than 5)

Parenting Payment Single

$225.07

Single, one child
(aged over 8)

JobSeeker

$178.52

Single

Age Pension

$181.07

Single aged over 21

Disability Support Pension

$181.07

Single

JobSeeker

$113.77

Single aged over 18

Youth Allowance, Austudy

$88.55

Couple, two children
(one aged less than 5,
one aged less than 10)

Minimum Wage (both adults)

$491.49

Single, two children
(one aged less than 5,
one aged less than 10)

Minimum Wage

$328.92

Single

Minimum Wage

$212.54

Couple, two children
(one aged less than 5,
one aged less than 10)

Minimum Wage and Parenting payment partnered

$385.88

Chambers said the best way to tackle the rental crisis was to build social and affordable rentals.

“The private market is failing people on low incomes. Even though Australia has built a record number of homes over the last 10 years, rents keep soaring. The best way to make rentals more affordable is to build social and affordable homes. Building general homes and hoping affordability will trickle down just isn’t working,” Chambers said.

“Our social housing shortfall has now ballooned to 640,000 social homes across Australia. Ending this shortfall will help people in the most severe rental stress, and free up the cheapest rentals for everybody else.

“If we do not tackle this shortfall, we do not stand a chance of ending rental stress in Australia.”

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