Shire remains affordable for low-income households

While renting in Victoria’s major cities for low-income households has become “extremely unaffordable”, Mary- borough is budget-friendly for those on less than $50,000 a year, a recently released report has found.

According to the 2016 census data, rent prices in the Central Goldfields Shire have increased 62 percent over the past decade, rising from an average of $120 per week in 2006 to $195 in 2016, but despite the increase, local rent prices remain well below the state average of $325 per week and the national average of $335 — making the Central Goldfields Shire “very affordable” for low income households under the rental affordability index.

“Practically anywhere in the Central Goldfields Shire and a lot of places in Ripon are more affordable than places across the state, especially metropolitan Melbourne. That’s why people move to the country,” Member for Ripon Louise Staley said.

“With population growth however, you want to see availability of employment and while renting may be affordable, the cost of living, including high fuel prices can cause stress for low-income households.”

According to the latest RAI, low- income households, including pensioners and single parents, can no longer afford to rent in Melbourne, Geelong, Bendigo or Ballarat, prompting the Council to the Homeless Persons (CHP) to call on the State Government to commit to building an additional 14,500 social houses over the next five years.

“There is now not a single neighbourhood in Melbourne or Victoria’s regional cities that is affordable for a single person on Centrelink, a single pensioner, or a single parent on a low part-time income,” CHP CEO Jenny Smith said.

“Vulnerable Victorian households have barely anywhere to live or anything to live on, forcing too many into unsafe or severely crowded accommodation or out on the streets.”

For more on this story see Page 2 of The Advertiser, Tuesday, February 20.

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