Media release: Housing report highlights need to maintain JobSeeker increase

30 April 2020

The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) today highlighted the importance of maintaining increased levels of income support and called for more government action to address the shortage of affordable housing in the ACT following the release of data on rental affordability in Canberra.

Anglicare’s 2020 Rental Affordability Snapshot data on the ACT and Queanbeyan region shows that:

  • No rentals are affordable for a person on the Disability Support Pension
  • No rentals are affordable for a couple where one person is on minimum wage and the other is a stay-at-home parent
  • No rentals are affordable for a person on Parenting Payment
  • Only 30 rentals (2.5%) are affordable for a single person on the JobSeeker payment (formerly Newstart) at levels following the recent increase. Without the increase, not a single rental would be affordable for people receiving JobSeeker payment in Canberra
  • Just 1% of rentals (16 out of 1,021) are affordable for a person on the Age Pension.

ACTCOSS CEO Dr Emma Campbell said: “Anglicare Australia’s Snapshot highlights the housing crisis in the ACT. ACTCOSS welcomes the additional investment in housing and homelessness in response to COVID-19, but governments still need to do more.

“As we look to the economic and social recovery, housing affordability, homelessness and a strong welfare safety net need to be central to any stimulus package,” Dr Campbell said.

ACTCOSS is calling on the ACT Government, through the National Cabinet, to support the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) post-COVID-19 Federal Government stimulus package including: maintenance of income supports at the current level; healthy and affordable homes – a national low-income energy productivity program; and the reduction of homelessness and generation of jobs by building 30,000 social housing dwellings.

“Today’s figures show that the ACT Government must prioritise delivery of the ACT Housing Strategy, including investments in public housing and increased land supply for affordable housing.

“Furthermore, all new private and social housing should be built to standards that meet the needs of older people and people with disabilities so that all Canberrans can live in an affordable, safe and appropriate home,” Dr Campbell concluded.

Find Anglicare Australia’s full Rental Affordability Snapshot here.

Read Anglicare Australia’s Rental Affordability Snapshot for ACT and surrounds (pdf) here.

ACOSS Briefing Note: Economic recovery briefing (pdf)

ACTCOSS advocates for social justice in the ACT and represents not-for-profit community organisations.

For more information or comment, please contact

Dr Emma Campbell, CEO, ACTCOSS, on 0424 910 617.

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