Anglicare has declared the plight of low income renters in Mudgee “dire”, after a national survey failed to find even one rental property in the town which would be deemed “affordable” for a family on a single minimum wage.
Anglicare’s National Rental Affordability Snapshot examined about 50,000 properties across every state and territory on the weekend of April 14.
The survey snapshot assessed household affordability for a range of household groups on government benefits as well as the minimum wage.
It defined an affordable rental as one which took up less than 30 percent of the household’s income, a benchmark widely used as an indicator of “housing stress” among low-income households.
Sue West from Anglicare Western NSW said the mining boom was a major factor in the rental affordability crisis in two communities studied – Mudgee and Orange.
“Whenever new mining operations are located close to town, the rents will go up to accommodate miners.
“This puts pressure on local residents who do not work in mining and whose income might not be sufficient to access housing in the private rental sector.
“In Mudgee, where the pressure on real estate brought about by new mining activity is particularly intense, we could not find any properties deemed affordable for families relying on one minimum wage.
“There are reports that even the renting of a caravan has become prohibitively expensive.
“Again there is a need to think about the housing arrangements of people who might want to live near Mudgee but are currently priced out of the rental market.
“Their current housing situation might currently be somewhat substandard.”
Anglicare Australia is calling for a national policy which includes changes to taxes and superannuation rules to encourage more investment in affordable housing.
However, Ms West said there were also steps the NSW Government could consider.
“Too much of the focus is on affordability for owner-occupiers,” she said.
“The really desperate problem is for low income earners in the private rental market.
“We know that in reality people are living in rental stress and going without necessities such as food.”
Mudgee Guardian, 30 Apr 2012