The $19 reason renters like Naomi are ‘angry’

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun11,2024
Naomi Thompson wasn’t expecting anything “super amazing” from Tuesday’s federal budget.
But she was hoping it would at least include cost of living measures that would make a real difference to people like her.
“I thought coming up to an election, maybe they’ll do something like they did in the middle of COVID and throw a temporary boost (to JobSeeker) or something for a short period of time,” Thompson, whose disabilities and chronic health conditions limit her ability to work, told SBS News.
Instead, the main targeted relief for income support recipients was — amounting to around $19 a fortnight for a single person without children.
Because she lives in social housing, Thompson won’t even receive the full amount.
“I think I worked it out at probably closer to $6 a week — or about 90 cents a day,” the 32-year-old from Orange in central west NSW said.’
“There’s very little value for me.”
Thompson said she’s been left feeling “annoyed, angry, frustrated, and confused”.
“So many people are just being left behind,” she said.
“For me personally, it just means another year struggling, another year dealing with chronic mental health.
“Not being able to do the things that would actually help my mental health because I just can’t afford it, is probably the hardest thing in the world for me.

“I just wish that the government could see that and understand that and might actually go, maybe we should just support the people who need help.”

Australian rents hit record highs last month, according to property data provider CoreLogic.
, ranging from $547 in Hobart to $770 in Sydney. In regional areas, it was $540 a week.

According to Anglicare’s latest Rental Affordability Snapshot, there were just three rentals in Australia that a person on JobSeeker would be able to afford — all of which were sharehouses.

The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) said the “modest” increase in Rent Assistance would still leave private renters receiving JobSeeker or Youth Allowance “deep in housing stress”.
“Commonwealth Rent Assistance is a crucial part of the social security system, and every dollar is better than no dollar,” ACOSS chief executive Cassandra Goldie told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.
“But as the government’s own expert committee — the Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee — made very clear, the first priority for you to fix the adequacy of incomes to tackle the crisis in homelessness amongst people on these low fixed incomes, was to deliver the increase to the base rate of JobSeeker and Youth Allowance to at least 90 per cent of the pension rate – and then in addition, a substantial increase to Commonwealth Rent Assistance.”
The Greens’ housing and homelessness spokesperson Max Chandler-Mather was also critical of the move, saying a $9 weekly increase didn’t make low-income renters .

“Rents went up $56 a week on average last year alone and are expected to go up another $46 this year. $102 average increase in rent vs $9 increase in rent assistance is devastating,” he wrote in a post on social media platform X on Wednesday.

Other cost of living measures in the budget included a $300 energy bill rebate for every Australian household, as well as tax cuts, cheaper medicines, and slashing student debt.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers said there was “more than one way” to help people on low incomes.

“We know that people are under pressure and that’s why we’ve found so many different ways to provide cost of living relief to people who are vulnerable, people on low and fixed incomes and people on JobSeeker,” he told the National Press Club on Wednesday.

But Thompson, who has lost weight as a direct result of not being able to afford to buy much food, said the energy rebate wouldn’t have a “huge” impact on her finances, either.
“The difference might mean that I actually can afford to buy one or two things extra for food,” she said.
“It might mean that maybe I can afford meat, for once. I usually don’t buy it because of how expensive it is.”
Readers seeking crisis support can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 and Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 (for young people aged up to 25). More information and support with mental health is available at and on 1300 224 636.
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Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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One thought on “The $19 reason renters like Naomi are ‘angry’”
  1. “It’s disheartening to see such minimal relief being offered to vulnerable individuals like Naomi. It’s clear that more substantial measures are needed to truly make a difference in their lives. The government should prioritize supporting those in need over other political considerations.”

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