Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2016) Housing assistance in Australia 2016, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 07 July 2022.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2016). Housing assistance in Australia 2016. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/housing-assistance/housing-assistance-in-australia-2016
Housing assistance in Australia 2016. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 02 June 2016, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/housing-assistance/housing-assistance-in-australia-2016
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Housing assistance in Australia 2016 [Internet]. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2016 [cited 2022 Jul. 7]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/housing-assistance/housing-assistance-in-australia-2016
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2016, Housing assistance in Australia 2016, viewed 7 July 2022, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/housing-assistance/housing-assistance-in-australia-2016
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Housing costs are a major expense and for those on low incomes, meeting rental costs or mortgage repayments can be a strain on personal finances. Similarly, for those who aspire to home ownership, saving a deposit and accessing finance can be difficult. Governments help make it easier for people to access affordable housing by providing:
CRA is an Australian Government payment to people on low or moderate incomes who are renting in the private housing market to assist with the cost of housing. CRA is the largest form of housing assistance for Australian households. To be eligible, tenants must first be in receipt of an income support payment or more than the base rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A (FTBA) as well as meet the residency requirements of their pension, allowance or benefit.
CRA is a non-taxable income supplement, payable fortnightly to eligible recipients. CRA is paid at 75 cents for every dollar above a minimum rental threshold until a maximum rate is reached. The minimum threshold and maximum rates vary according to an income unit's household composition, including the number of children.
CRA may be payable to certain social housing tenants, such as those living in community housing or Indigenous community housing and, in some jurisdictions, state owned and managed Indigenous housing (SOMIH).
CRA is not payable to public rental housing tenants, as these housing authorities separately subsidise rent for eligible tenants.
Payment of CRA continues as long as recipients meet income and asset tests for their primary payment and CRA eligibility conditions.
Between 2010–11 and 2014–15, the Australian Government's nominal expenditure for CRA increased by 35%, from $3.1 billion to $4.2 billion. Over time, expenditure has remained highest in New South Wales, followed by Queensland (Productivity Commission 2016).
As at 30 June 2015, more than 1.34 million income units received CRA. This is an increase from 1.32 million in 2014. The number of income units receiving CRA has risen by 43% since 2000 (up from 937,100 income units). The median CRA payment was $128 per fortnight, and the median rent was $415 per fortnight.
Of the CRA recipients (the person in the income unit to whom the CRA is paid) in 2015:
In 2015, New South Wales had the highest number of CRA recipients (437,800), followed by Queensland (339,800) and Victoria (306,500). Tasmania (36,300) had more than 3 times as many CRA recipients as the Australian Capital Territory (11,900), despite having a population that is only 25% larger than the Australian Capital Territory. This primarily reflects differences in average household incomes with proportionally less demand for CRA in the Australian Capital Territory, and conversely confirms the high levels of welfare dependency in Tasmania.
Rental stress is defined as spending more than 30% of gross household income on rent.
As at 30 June 2015, 69% of CRA recipients would have paid more than 30% of their income on rent if CRA were not provided. However, with CRA provided, this proportion was reduced to 41% of CRA recipients.
Between 2010 and 2015, the proportion of income units paying more than 30% of their income in rent after receipt of CRA remained steady at around 40%. Among special needs groups, such as those aged 24 and under, those aged 75 and over, and those receiving a disability support pension, young people were the most likely to be paying more than 30% of their income in rent after CRA.
The proportion of older Australians (75+ years) experiencing rental stress after receiving CRA decreased from around 30% in 2010 to 26% in 2015.
Young people (24 and under) were the most likely to experience rental stress despite receiving CRA. This has increased from around 55% in 2010 to 58% in 2015.
PRA is financial assistance provided directly by state and territory governments to low-income households experiencing difficulty in securing or maintaining private rental accommodation. Private rent assistance is usually provided as a one-off form of support and includes bond loans, rental grants, rental subsidies and relief, and payment of relocation expenses.
In 2014–15, PRA assisted more than 123,100 recipients, compared to 117,800 in 2012–13. Of PRA recipients in 2014–15:
In 2014–15, South Australia reported the highest number of households receiving PRA, with almost 49,000 recipients (40%). This was followed by Queensland (26,300 or 21%) and New South Wales (22,000 or 18%). The Northern Territory reported the lowest number of households receiving PRA, with fewer than 300 recipients (less than 1%).
In 2014–15, 3 in 5 (60%) of households receiving PRA were households in Major cities, with 23% in Inner regional areas, 15% in Outer regional areas and around 2% in Remote and Very remote areas.
Some households received multiple types of assistance during the 2014–15 year. Bond loans were the most common type of PRA, assisting 81,000 households, followed by rental grants, subsidies and relief (almost 38,100).
There are two main types of government housing assistance available to home buyers:
The national First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) scheme was introduced on 1 July 2000 and is funded by the states and territories and administered under their own legislation. Under the scheme, a one-off grant is payable to low-income first home owners who satisfy eligibility criteria.
Despite the introduction of the FHOG, the number of dwellings financed by all first home buyers has fallen over time, from around 12,900 in 2009 to 7,600 in 2014. Similarly, the percentage of all dwellings financed by all first home buyers has fallen from 25% in 2009 to 15% in 2014.
In line with the fall in the number of dwellings financed by first home buyers, the average loan amount has increased over time. In November 2009, the average loan amount was $286,300. This increased to an average loan amount of $327,600 in November 2014 (up 14%).
Note: These figures include all first home buyers, not just low-income first home buyers receiving a FHOG.
1. The figures refer to 30 November 2014 as that is the most current data available at the time the report was prepared.
Source: ABS 2015.
HPA is administered by each jurisdiction and provides a range of financial assistance to eligible households to improve their access to, and maintain, home ownership.
HPA can include:
In 2014–15, states and territories provided home purchase assistance to around 44,000 recipients across Australia (Table FA.2). This compares to around 40,300 recipients in 2012–13.
Of HPA recipients:
The number of households receiving HPA in the form of direct lending has increased slightly between 2010–11 and 2014–15 (from 37,600 to 38,600). The number receiving interest rate assistance and 'other' types of assistance has also increased over the same period.
Source: AIHW National Housing Assistance Data Repository 2014–15.
In 2014–15, the highest number of households that received HPA were in Western Australia (21,400), followed by South Australia (18,700). The Australian Capital Territory reported the lowest number of households receiving HPA (55—or less than 1% of all households assisted).
While 68% (29,700) of households that received HPA were in Major cities in 2014–15, 16% (6,900) were in Outer regional areas and 1 in 8 (13%, or 5,800) were in Inner regional areas. Very few were located in either Remote (3%) or Very remote (less than 1%) areas.
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