Regional Essential Workers’ Hit By Covid Rental Crisis


NEW data released to mark the start of national Homelessness Week shows that Covid essential workers in the care and services sector on the North Coast are struggling with rental payments.

New figures show rent on an apartment or unit would cost at least one third of weekly income in six out of ten geographic regions including the North Coast.

Everybody’s Home (EH), the national campaign against homelessness, cross-referenced SQM Research rental data with the basic hourly wage of workers in disability support, aged care, childcare, hospitality and supermarkets.

According to the EH SQM data on the North Coast, at an asking rent of $450 per week, a disability support worker on $22.30 an hour needs to work 20.2 hours per week to make rent.

An aged care worker on $21.62 an hour needs to work 20.8 hours, a childcare worker on $21.59 also needs to work 20.8 hours, a hospitality worker on $21.19 needs to work 21.2 hours and and a supermarket checkout employee needs to work 20.7 hours to make rent payments on the North Coast.

Everybody’s Home national spokesperson Kate Colvin said Australia’s housing system wasn’t working for normal Australians.

“The pandemic has reminded us how critically important our carers and service workers are.

“Yet these pandemic heroes are being badly let down by the housing system and are often priced out of the communities they serve.

“Essential workers are increasingly priced out of coastal and bush communities too.

“People with big city incomes are moving to the regions and totally warping the rental markets.

“It’s astonishing that a care or service worker simply could not afford a modest apartment in the majority of our regions,” Ms Colvin said.

“We must expand social and affordable housing.

“This will relieve the pressure on our rental market and give Australians on low and modest incomes more options.

“All over the country, our caring and service workers simply can’t compete for rental properties.

“These are the people who got us through the pandemic.

“We must find a way to let them live close to their work,” she said.

Ms Colvin emphasised, “Expecting an exhausted aged care or supermarket worker to commute 90 minutes to and from work just to afford the rent is totally unfair and unsustainable.

“Australia can do better.”


By Sandra MOON

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