The biggest threat to the adequacy of Australians’ retirement incomes is the inadequacy of income support available to renters.

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Senior Australians who rent in the private market are much more likely to suffer financial stress than homeowners, or renters in public housing. Nearly half of retirees who rent are living in poverty.

And this problem will get worse, because home ownership is falling. If current trends continue, by 2056 just two-thirds of retirees will own their homes, down from nearly 80 per cent in 2020.

Raising Commonwealth Rent Assistance is the most effective way to help renting retirees who are living in poverty. Last year’s 15 per cent increase in Rent Assistance should be turned into at least a 40 per cent increase. This would provide an extra $1,000 a year to nearly one-third of all renters, at a cost to the budget of about $1.2 billion a year.

Joey Moloney

Housing and Economic Security Deputy Program Director
Joey Moloney is the Deputy Program Director of Grattan Institute’s Housing and Economic Security program. He has worked at the Productivity Commission and the Commonwealth Treasury, with a focus on the superannuation system and retirement income policy.