ACT News

Some of Canberra's poorest fork out half their income on rent

Canberrans relying on Commonwealth Rent Assistance are forking out higher portions of their income for housing, compared to recipients elsewhere in Australia. 

Just over half of ACT residents receiving assistance (52 per cent) spent more than 30 per cent of their income on rent last year, more than any other state or territory, according to the Report on Government Services 2015 released on Wednesday.

Without assistance, it would have been almost three quarters at 73.4 per cent. 

The ACT also has the highest portion of supported residents losing more than half their income to rent at 24.3 per cent.

Without rental assistance, 39.5 per cent would have fallen into this bracket.

Looking at the nation's public housing stock, the ACT had the second highest average weekly subsidy per rebated household as of June 30 - more than $250 compared to a national average of $162 and another measure of lack of affordability.

Advertisement

Canberra's has the second-highest rate of homeless per capita in the nation behind the Northern Territory, according to the ABS.

Quite a bit of money has been poured into capital's specialist homelessness services more recently, according to the service report.

The ACT recorded the highest cost per complete support period in the 2013-2014 year at $3682, and the biggest cost per client at $4147.

The capital also had the highest proportion of clients looking for work or training employed post-support - but it was less than a quarter at 23.5 per cent.

Just over half of clients looking for independent housing, or wanting to stay in independent housing, did at 62.6 per cent, similar to elsewhere in Australia.

Meanwhile, the ACT had the highest proportion of young people who had experienced a form of homelessness in education or training after receiving support at 82.4 per cent.

But when it comes to keeping our public and community housing properties in shape, the territory fell behind.

About a quarter of public housing and a tenth of community housing properties had less than four working facilities and more than two major structural problems, more than any other state or territory.

Canberra also has the least satisfied community housing residents, with almost a third dissatisfied.

The Report on Government Services 2015 is produced by the Productivity Commission.

The community services section of the report revealed young females were four times less likely to be detained in 2012-13 than in 2010-11.

The daily average rate of young people in detention in 2012–13 decreased by 25 per cent.

Meanwhile, 45.3 per cent of eligible people with a disability are accessing community support services, the highest in the nation, compared with an overall average of 25.3 per cent.