Anglicare’s annual Rental Affordability Snapshot, which surveyed over 45,000 rental listings across the country, paints a dire picture of the challenges full-time essential workers face finding affordable housing.
The results are startling – just 2.4% of rentals are affordable for ambulance workers, 1.5% for nurses, 1.3% for construction workers, 1.1% for aged care workers, 0.9% for early childhood educators and 0.9% for hospitality staff.
Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers made an impassioned plea for urgent government action, stating essential workers are the “backbone of our communities, yet they cannot afford to rent.” She noted that more and more workers are being pushed into serious rental stress.
Industries already facing critical shortages and retention challenges are particularly impacted in regions with intense unaffordability. Employees simply cannot stay in or relocate to areas where wages fail to cover astronomical rents. As Chambers highlighted, “Virtually no part of Australia is affordable for aged care workers, early childhood educators, cleaners, nurses and many other essential workers we rely on. They cannot afford to live in their own communities.”
In Anglicare’s view, the only sustainable solution is a massive expansion of social and affordable housing targeted at these left-behind workers. Chambers pointed out that while Australia has seen record overall home building in the past decade, relying on developers and hoping affordability trickles down has clearly failed. The private market cannot house our essential workforce.
Alongside constructing affordable rentals for low and average-income earners, Anglicare calls for reforms like ending no-cause evictions, limiting egregious rent hikes and tax changes putting people before investors. If implemented swiftly, these measures could provide some relief amidst the crisis.