Senator Dean Smith
Shadow Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury
Liberal Senator for Western Australia
25 August 2023
RENTERS JOIN MORTGAGE HOLDERS AS VICTIMS OF LABOR’S ECONOMIC MISMANAGEMENT
Recent data analysis shows low-income WA renters would need to spend around two-thirds of their income to access an average rental property in the state.
The median weekly rent for a house in WA has climbed from $370.00 in 2020 to $580.00 in 2023, while the minimum wage has only grown from $753.80 to $863.40.
This represents a ratio increase from 49% to 67%.
Over the same time period, the percentage of income an average WA worker spent on rent has jumped nearly 10%.
Western Australians in this category spent about 20% of their income on rent in 2020, but in August this year that has increased to more than 28%.
The negative impact on WA households is confirmed by The Salvation Army’s Doorways Emergency Relief Survey, which found 21% of respondents from the West had been unable to pay their mortgage repayments or rent on time in the past year.
To put this into perspective, the national rate was only 7%.
Earlier this year, Anglicare WA’s latest Rental Affordability Snapshot found that the average price for a rental in WA has soared to $560 per week – an increase of 17% in just one year.
It also found that only 1% of rentals are affordable for a working single parent with two children on the minimum wage in WA, while there was no affordable rental in the state for a single person on JobSeeker.
Just 15% of rentals were affordable for a family with two children where both parents earn the minimum wage.
Renters have joined the state’s mortgage holders as the victims of Labor’s cost of living crisis and inability to tame inflation.
56% of the fixed rate home loans in WA switch to variable rate by the end of 2023 –one of the highest levels in Australia.
Of any state, WA has the largest number of borrowers that are three months behind on their mortgage repayments.
Meanwhile, over 40,000 low-income WA mortgage holders are now spending 30% or more of their household budget on loan repayments.
These statistics confirm that, over a year after the election of the Albanese Government, its promise life would be cheaper under Labor have come to nothing.
Comments attributable to Senator Dean Smith:
“There have been 11 interest rate rises on the Albanese Government’s watch and instead of effective economic management, their policies are making matters worse.”
“While there’s ample evidence of the toll being taken on WA mortgage holders, it’s undeniable renters are also doing it very tough under Labor.”
“Keeping a roof over their heads is now a daily struggle for many Western Australians – how is that compatible with the promise we’d all be better off under Labor?”
“We are setting records for all the wrong reasons here in WA, with significant hardship being felt as a result.”
“Anthony Albanese and Jim Chalmers have forgotten the everyday Australians they promised to help.”
“Addressing this rental stress must be a top priority for Labor, and an important part of that is not the HAFF or introducing caps, but incentivising mum and dad property investors to enter the market and increase rental stock.”