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Channel 10 axes another show amid ratings crisis

<p>Channel 10 has decided to axe yet another popular show as they continue to grapple with declining ratings and viewers leaving. </p> <p>Following the cancellation of <em>The Bachelors </em>and <em>The Masked Singer</em>, <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-13449749/Channel-10-axes-amid-ratings-crisis-revealed-Channel-Seven-considering-saving-unlikely-series.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Daily Mail Australia</em></a> reported that the network was also cancelling <em>Gladiators</em>. </p> <p>Despite the show's success in the UK, the Australian reboot struggled to find the same effect as they failed to sustain their initial viewership. </p> <p>The show produced by Warner Bros and hosted by Beau Ryan and Liz Ellis was launched with high hopes and attracted 395,000 metro viewers during its premiere. </p> <p>However, by the second episode the numbers plummeted to just 196,000 - over half of the initial viewership. </p> <p>Critics on social media were also quick to point out the lack of crowd presence, despite the show being filmed under normal conditions, with one person saying: "It felt like watching an event without any real energy."</p> <p>The Traitors is another the show that was axed by the network after just two seasons, and now an insider has revealed that Channel Seven is considering commissioning the series.</p> <p>"The show's concept has potential, but it needs a fresh approach and a new platform," the insider told <em>Daily Mail Australia</em>. </p> <p>They also shared what's in store for Channel 10 as they attempt to revive their ratings. </p> <p>"Channel 10 is now deciding to put all their eggs in one basket, planning to roll out not one, but two seasons of Australian Survivor in 2025," the insider said. </p> <p>"They are putting together a 10th season special as well as an Australia vs USA Survivor all-star showdown which will be screened simultaneously in America and Down Under."</p> <p>A Channel 10 executive said: "Survivor has consistently performed well for us, and we believe this new approach will reignite audience interest."</p> <p>The <em>Daily Mail</em> reported that they have contacted Channel Seven and 10 for a comment. </p> <p><em>Image: Ten</em></p>

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“Greedy” landlord slammed for illegal act

<p>A Victorian landlord has been slammed on social media after admitting to making her tenants pay an illegal pet bond amounting to $1000. </p> <p>The woman made the admission while replying to a post on a Facebook group for Victorian landlords after a member asked for advice about renting to tenants who have pets. </p> <p>"Not knowing everything but in my experience I would rather have pets than kids!" the landlord began. </p> <p>"I would ask for a pet bond. I have one it's $1000 for damages by the pet," she said</p> <p>Pet bonds are illegal in Victoria, and landlords who try to secure it illegally often describe it as a way to cover costs if their pet causes any damages to the property.</p> <p>When the poster replied saying that her tenant offered to provide a pet bond, but she knows they're not legal in Victoria, the landlord confessed that: "I know they are not legal but I always ask for them and my PM (property manager) has been great about them.”</p> <p>“I have lots of pets personally and don’t turn down animals. Again, kids have done more damage than animals in my experience,” she added.</p> <p>“Most renters are happy to do it as it means they can have animals.”</p> <p>In Victoria renters who want a pet on the property must ask the rental provider, and if they refuse the request, the landlord must provide a valid excuse, with assistance dogs being the exception. </p> <p>If a pet causes damages to a property, the cost of these damages can be taken out of the regular bond paid at the start of their tenancy, so a pet bond is not required. </p> <p>Western Australia is the only state where landlords can legally ask for a pet bond, but even then they can only charge a maximum of $260 regardless of how many pets there are. </p> <p>A screenshot of the landlords shocking admission was shared on X by by popular renter’s advocate, Jordie van den Berg with the caption: “Landlord: ‘yeah I know it’s not legal, but I do it anyway’." </p> <p>Outraged renters slammed the landlord's “greedy” and “vile” behaviour, with one calling it “emotional blackmail”. </p> <p>“‘Most renters are happy to pay’ – I’m sure none of them are happy but they need somewhere to live without having to give up their pet," one wrote. </p> <p>“I personally would not describe myself as ‘happy’ to be exploited over an illegal bond that I can’t dispute when you go ahead and invent some bulls**t to keep it because the alternative is that it’s almost impossible to get a rental with pets,” another added. </p> <p>“The most concerning thing is the manager, how many illegal bonds have they taken and where is the money being held? In the agents account, with the owner? It wouldn’t be with fair trading where legal bonds are lodged,” a third wrote. </p> <p>This comes after a recent Rental Affordability report shared by Anglicare Australia revealed that “the housing crisis is the worst it’s ever been." </p> <p>According to the report only 0.6 per cent out of 45,000 listings across the country were considered affordable for a person earning a full-time minimum wage. </p> <p><em>Image: Jordie Berg/ X/ Shutterstock</em></p>

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Our housing system is broken and the poorest Australians are being hardest hit

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rachel-ong-viforj-113482">Rachel Ong ViforJ</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/curtin-university-873">Curtin University</a></em></p> <p>Just when we think the price of rentals could not get any worse, this week’s <a href="https://www.anglicare.asn.au/publications/2023-rental-affordability-snapshot/">Rental Affordability Snapshot</a> by Anglicare has revealed low-income Australians are facing a housing crisis like never before.</p> <p>In fact, if you rely on the <a href="https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/youth-allowance">Youth Allowance</a>, there is not a single rental property across Australia you can afford this week.</p> <h2>How did rental affordability get this bad?</h2> <p>Several post-COVID factors have been blamed, including our preference for <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/bulletin/2023/jun/new-insights-into-the-rental-market.html">more space, the return of international migrants</a>, and <a href="https://www.corelogic.com.au/news-research/news/2023/could-the-peak-in-interest-rates-signal-an-end-to-rising-rents">rising interest rates</a>.</p> <p>However, the rental affordability crisis pre-dates COVID.</p> <p>Affordability has been steadily declining for decades, as successive governments have failed to make shelter more affordable for low-to-moderate income Australians.</p> <h2>The market is getting squeezed at both ends</h2> <p>At the lower end of the rental sector, the growth in the supply of social housing persistently lags behind demand, trending at under <a href="https://povertyandinequality.acoss.org.au/data/annual-growth-rates-social-housing-stock-and-population-2011-2020/">one-third</a> the rate of population growth.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="OA0cS" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/OA0cS/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>This has forced growing numbers of low-income Australians to seek shelter in the private rental sector, where they face intense competition from higher-income renters.</p> <p>At the upper end, more and more aspiring home buyers are getting <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03085147.2021.2003086">locked out</a> of home ownership.</p> <p>A recent <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/sites/default/files/documents/2024-02/AHURI-Final-Report-416-Affordable-private-rental-supply-and-demand-short-term-disruption.pdf">study</a> found more households with higher incomes are now renting.</p> <p>Households earning <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/sites/default/files/documents/2024-02/AHURI-Final-Report-416-Affordable-private-rental-supply-and-demand-short-term-disruption.pdf">$140,000</a> a year or more (in 2021 dollars) accounted for just 8% of private renters in 1996. By 2021, this tripled to 24%. No doubt, this crowds out lower-income households who are now facing a shortage of affordable homes to rent.</p> <h2>Why current policies are not working</h2> <p>Worsening affordability in the private rental sector highlights a housing system that is broken. Current policies just aren’t working.</p> <p>While current policies focus on supply, more work is needed including fixing <a href="https://theconversation.com/governments-are-pouring-money-into-housing-but-materials-land-and-labour-are-still-in-short-supply-205471">labour shortages</a> and providing greater <a href="https://theconversation.com/people-want-and-need-more-housing-choice-its-about-time-governments-stood-up-to-deliver-it-122390">stock diversity</a>.</p> <p>The planning system plays a critical role and <a href="https://theconversation.com/confusing-and-not-delivering-enough-developers-and-councils-want-new-affordable-housing-rules-139762">zoning rules</a> can be reformed to support the supply of more affordable options.</p> <p>However, the housing affordability challenge is not solely a supply problem. There is also a need to respond to the <a href="https://theconversation.com/home-prices-are-climbing-alright-but-not-for-the-reason-you-might-think-158776">super-charged demand</a> in the property market.</p> <p>An overheated market will undoubtedly place intense pressure on the rental sector because aspiring first home buyers are forced to rent for longer, as house prices soar at a rate unmatched by their wages.</p> <p>Yet, governments continue to resist calls for winding back the <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-02-15/ken-henry-australias-tax-system-in-worse-position-after-15-years/103465044">generous tax concessions</a> enjoyed by multi-property owners.</p> <p>The main help available to low-income private renters - the Commonwealth Rent Assistance scheme - is <a href="https://theconversation.com/1-billion-per-year-or-less-could-halve-rental-housing-stress-146397">poorly targeted</a> with nearly one in five low-income renters who are in rental stress deemed ineligible, while another one in four receive it despite not being in rental stress.</p> <h2>Can affordable housing occur naturally?</h2> <p>Some commentators support the theory of <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/sites/default/files/documents/2022-09/Executive-Summary-FR387-Filtering-as-a-source-of-low-income-housing-in-Australia-conceptualisation-and-testing.pdf">filtering</a> - a market-based process by which the supply of new dwellings in more expensive segments creates additional supply of dwellings for low-income households as high-income earners vacate their former dwellings.</p> <p>Proponents of filtering argue building more housing anywhere - even in wealthier ends of the property market - will eventually improve affordability across the board because lower priced housing will trickle down to the poorest households.</p> <p>However, the persistent affordability crisis low-income households face and the rise in homelessness are crucial signs filtering <a href="https://cloud.3dissue.com/122325/122578/143598/WhyNewSupplyisnotExpandingHousingOptionsfortheHomeless/html5/index.html?page=1&amp;noflash">does not work well</a> and <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/sites/default/files/documents/2022-09/AHURI-Final-Report-387-Filtering-as-a-source-of-low-income-housing-in-Australia-conceptualisation-and-testing.pdf">cannot be relied upon</a> to produce lower cost housing.</p> <h2>Location, location, location</h2> <p>Location does matter, if we expect building new housing to work for low-income individuals.</p> <p>What is needed is a steady increase of affordable, quality housing in areas offering low-income renters the same access to jobs and amenities as higher-income households.</p> <p>The <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/housing-policy/accord#:%7E:text=The%20Accord%20includes%20an%20initial,5%20years%20from%20mid%E2%80%912024.">National Housing Accord</a> aims to deliver 1.2 million new dwellings over five years from mid-2024. But it must ensure these are “well-located” for people who need affordable housing, as suggested in the accord.</p> <p>Recent <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02673037.2023.229051">modelling</a> shows unaffordable housing and poor neighbourhoods both negatively affect mental health, reinforcing the need to provide both affordable and well-located housing.</p> <h2>The upcoming budget</h2> <p>While the <a href="https://www.dss.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/05_2023/payments-cra_budget_fact_sheet_fa_0.pdf">15% increase</a> in the maximum rent assistance rate was welcomed in the last budget, the program is long overdue for a major restructure to target those in rental stress.</p> <p>Also, tax concessions on second properties should be wound back to reduce competition for those struggling to buy their first home. This would eventually help ease affordability pressures on low-income renters as more higher-income renters <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1467-8454.12335">shift into homeownership</a>.</p> <p>The potential negative impacts on rental supply can be mitigated by careful design of tax and other changes that guard against market destabilisation concerns.</p> <p>Overall, housing affordability solutions have to be multi-faceted. The housing system is badly broken and meaningful repair cannot be achieved unless policymakers are willing to confront both supply and demand challenges.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/228511/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rachel-ong-viforj-113482">Rachel Ong ViforJ</a>, ARC Future Fellow &amp; Professor of Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/curtin-university-873">Curtin University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/our-housing-system-is-broken-and-the-poorest-australians-are-being-hardest-hit-228511">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Family of eight forced to live in tent amid rental crisis

<p>A family of eight have been forced to live in a tent for over six months as they wait to find suitable accommodation after their last rental lease ended. </p> <p>Cameron and Tameka Fletcher and their six children, aged between one and 10, have been living in a tent and have had to move from campsite to campsite since September. </p> <p>The couple claimed that the government can't support them because they have "too many children", and are waiting for public housing, but they might not meet the criteria to be eligible for it. </p> <p>They were reportedly staying in a makeshift tent city in a suburban park north of Brisbane.</p> <p>"We've always had a house, we've never done this," Cameron Fletcher told <em>Nine News</em>. </p> <p>"Everyone here is going through the same thing. But it's the only way to get help."</p> <p>“We can only do what’s best for our kids, to keep a roof over their heads,” his wife added. </p> <p>One of the couple's daughters is due to start school next year, and they have been struggling to enrol her as the family doesn't have a permanent address. </p> <p>The family said they are also struggling with day-to-day activities like finding breakfast, washing their clothes and getting the kids ready for school, and are using solar camping showers purchased from Kmart to clean themselves.</p> <p>According to <em>Nine News</em>, the family would be happy with a three-bedroom home but were told by state housing officials that they can only be offered a five-bedroom home to avoid overcrowding, but there are currently none available. </p> <p>In a statement issued to <em>Yahoo News</em>, a spokesperson for Department of Housing said it “has been working with the family since September last year, including providing accommodation which they chose to leave”.</p> <p>"As we’ve been assisting them to find longer-term options, they have declined further offers of accommodation," the spokesperson said.</p> <p>"With regards to social housing, there are eligibility factors that need to be met, including income thresholds. However, the department continues to work with the family to find a private rental and give any other support they might need."</p> <p>This comes as new <a href="https://www.news.com.au/finance/real-estate/rent-shock-what-youll-be-paying-in-every-australian-suburb-in-2024/news-story/10b67da9ebe170a2e2d37caa7e66bf40" target="_blank" rel="noopener">PropTrack</a> data, released in March, revealed that rent has increased by 17 per cent over the past 12 months, across all the capital cities in Australia. </p> <p>More than half of Queenslanders who have applied for social housing are reportedly homeless and have had to wait for over two years amid a lack of supply and increased demands.</p> <p>Earlier this year, the Queensland government announced it was aiming to build another 53,500 social homes by 2046, with a $3.1 billion funding boost to deliver one million homes. </p> <p><em>Images: Nine News</em></p>

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"Out-of-touch" Project stars slammed over clash with renter advocate

<p>Social media users have slammed <em>The Project </em>hosts,  following their recent interview with a renter advocate who encourages Aussies struggling with the housing crisis to squat in empty homes. </p> <p>Jordan van den Berg,  founder of the S*** Rentals website shared a video over the weekend outside a rundown house in Chadstone, Melbourne, saying: “Are you sick of rich people hoarding empty houses during a housing crisis? I know I am." </p> <p>“Here’s how you can do something about it.” </p> <p>He then encouraged people to submit information on empty homes in their suburbs via a form on his website, which he plans to promote on his socials so those struggling to find a home could squat in them. </p> <p>“Fun fact – squatting in Australia is not necessarily illegal, which is the best type of legal, especially if the front door doesn’t actually lock," he said. </p> <p>On Monday, he appeared on The Project to talk about his controversial plans, and was grilled by the show's hosts. </p> <p>“I know we’re in a pretty serious housing crisis, but do you really think encouraging people to squat in private properties is the way to fix it?" asked co-host Sarah Harris. </p> <p> “Let me answer your question by asking you a question. Do you think it’s right we have thousands of vacant, abandoned homes while we have people living on the street?” van de Berg replied. </p> <p>Harris said she didn’t and asked whether the solving the housing crisis should be focused on policy instead.</p> <p>Later in the interview, panellist Steve Price casted his doubts on whether there actually were a lot of vacant homes, but van de Berg replied that he'd received over 300 submissions from Aussies about empty homes in their suburbs. </p> <p>van de Berg also said that desperate people are even squatting in abandoned properties, and added: “If someone needs a house, they can reach out to me and I’ll send them [details about] an empty home."</p> <p>Harris was shocked that people would “basically camp out in abandoned houses with no power" which van den Berg argued that “camping out inside” was likely better than sleeping on the streets or in a park.</p> <p>Co-host Waleed Aly then asked whether van de Berg  was encouraging people to break the law, but he pointed out that squatting – done properly – isn’t technically illegal.</p> <p>The interview has been slammed on social media, with Writer and comedian John Delmenico posting on X: “Watching the rich out-of-touch panel on the Project realise in real time that not everyone is rich is so bizarre.</p> <p>"Especially the part where Pingers has to explain that being in a house is safer than sleeping on the street. How do they host the news with no connection to reality?”</p> <p>Others agreed mocking the panellists’ shock that “shelter without electricity is better than no shelter with no electricity”.</p> <p>“She was laughing at the fact that ppl would camp out in abandoned houses with no power/water, until he put her in her place by reminding her they’re better off camping under shelter than outside. Mic drop moment," one wrote. </p> <p>“Homelessness exists … it’s quite a big problem actually," another added. </p> <p>However, a few others agreed with the <em>Project</em> hosts. </p> <p>“Encouraging people to squat, who does he think he is?" one wrote. </p> <p>“He thinks he’s doing a good thing, but he’s given absolutely no critical thought to the implications of encouraging people to take over ‘empty homes’," another added. </p> <p>Leo Patterson Ross, chief executive of the Tenants Union of NSW, said that van den Berg was “drawing attention to issues that government should be acting on”.</p> <p>“In the middle of a housing crisis with growing levels of homelessness, we should be looking to ensure homes are not left vacant,” Patterson Ross said.</p> <p>“If a person leaves a property unattended and empty for 12 years, then I think many of us would agree it seems fair that the community can reclaim usage to provide a home, whether that be individuals or government.”</p> <p><em>Image: The Project</em></p>

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Stay or go? Most older Australians want to retire where they are, but renters don’t always get a choice

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/christopher-phelps-378137">Christopher Phelps</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/curtin-university-873">Curtin University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rachel-ong-viforj-113482">Rachel Ong ViforJ</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/curtin-university-873">Curtin University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/william-clark-1488932">William Clark</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-california-los-angeles-1301">University of California, Los Angeles</a></em></p> <p>As Australia’s population gets older, more people are confronted with a choice: retire where they are or seek new horizons elsewhere.</p> <p>Choosing to grow old in your existing home or neighbourhood is known as “ageing in place”. It enables older people to stay connected to their community and maintain familiarity with their surroundings.</p> <p>For many, the decision to “age in place” will be tied to their connection to the family home. But for many, secure and affordable housing is increasingly <a href="https://theconversation.com/ageing-in-a-housing-crisis-growing-numbers-of-older-australians-are-facing-a-bleak-future-209237">beyond reach</a>. This choice may then be impeded by a lack of suitable accommodation in their current or desired neighbourhoods.</p> <p>Our recently published <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/01640275231209683">study</a> asks what motivates older homeowners and renters to age in place or relocate, and what factors disrupt these preferences. It suggests older renters are often not given a fair choice.</p> <h2>Most older Australians want to age in place</h2> <p>Having the option to age in place enables older people to retain autonomy over their lifestyles and identity, promoting emotional wellbeing.</p> <p>Using 20 years of data from the government-funded Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, we tracked the preferences of Australians aged 55 and over.</p> <p>Encouragingly, most older Australians are already where they want to be.</p> <p>Two-thirds (67%) of respondents strongly preferred to stay in their current neighbourhood, and an additional one-fifth (19%) had a moderate preference to stay.</p> <p>Only 6% showed a moderate or strong desire to leave. Ageing in place is then the natural choice for a vast majority of older Australians.</p> <p><iframe id="s3LTM" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/s3LTM/1/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>Our study highlights several motivations for people to stay put as they retire.</p> <p>For homeowners, family ties matter. Owners with children residing nearby were around one and a half times more likely to have a higher preference to stay.</p> <p>Older owners might then have a reason to call on their substantial <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-housing-wealth-gap-between-older-and-younger-australians-has-widened-alarmingly-in-the-past-30-years-heres-why-197027">housing wealth</a> and keep their children nearby via the <a href="https://360info.org/how-to-help-the-young-buy-a-home/">“bank of mum and dad”</a>.</p> <p>For renters, how long they stay is important. Those renting their home for 10 years or more were 1.7 times more likely to have a higher preference to stay than short-term renters.</p> <h2>Renters face the most disruption</h2> <p>The survey enabled us to follow where older people lived a year after they provided their preferences. This helped us gauge how often they turned their desires into reality.</p> <p>The chart below indicates that private renters face greater obstacles to ageing in place.</p> <p>Around one in 10 private renters that desired to age in place were disrupted – they wanted to stay in their neighbourhood but didn’t. This suggests they moved out of their neighbourhood involuntarily.</p> <p>Only 2% of homeowners and social renters experienced the same disruption. However, for those in these tenures that did not desire to age in place, involuntary immobility was a greater concern. Only 15% of those that wanted to leave succeeded, leaving the vast majority “stuck in place”.</p> <p><iframe id="IlliV" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/IlliV/1/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>The private rental market is the least secure of tenures, and so private tenants are often exposed to involuntary moves. Australia’s private rental system is lightly regulated compared to many other countries, creating tenure insecurity concerns.</p> <p>On the other hand, social renters were particularly susceptible to involuntary immobility. Social housing is scarce in Australia and subject to <a href="https://theconversation.com/its-soul-destroying-how-people-on-a-housing-wait-list-of-175-000-describe-their-years-of-waiting-210705">lengthy waiting lists</a>. A neighbourhood move often requires transferring to the less affordable and less secure private rental housing.</p> <p>Even after considering financial status, social renters were four times as likely to be stuck as compared to private renters. Social tenants are strongly deterred from moving in the current system.</p> <h2>How can we support older Australians’ preferences?</h2> <p>Our study exposes some barriers in the housing system that hinder people from being able to age in place, or move when they want to. Clearly, older renters enjoy fewer protections against disruptions to their preferences to age in place than older owners.</p> <p>For private renters, tenure insecurity in the <a href="https://theconversation.com/insecure-renting-ages-you-faster-than-owning-a-home-unemployment-or-obesity-better-housing-policy-can-change-this-216364">private rental sector</a> is a key reform priority. This can be achieved through stronger regulation that improves tenants’ rights. For example, more states could adopt <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-5-key-tenancy-reforms-are-affecting-renters-and-landlords-around-australia-187779?utm_source=twitter&amp;utm_medium=bylinetwitterbutton">recent regulatory rental reforms</a> that support the rights of pet owners and protect against no-grounds evictions.</p> <p>Large numbers of older private renters also face severe <a href="https://www.oldertenants.org.au/publications/ageing-in-a-housing-crisis-older-peoples-housing-insecurity-homelessness-in-australia">rental stress</a>, which may force them to move from their preferred neighbourhood. <a href="https://theconversation.com/1-billion-per-year-or-less-could-halve-rental-housing-stress-146397">Commonwealth rent assistance reform</a> would alleviate some of this stress through an increase in rates and better targeting.</p> <p>An increase in the supply of social housing would play an important role in improving both tenure security and housing affordability. Older social renters enjoy fewer obstacles to ageing in place than older private renters.</p> <p>However, if social renters want to move into the private rental market to relocate, they face difficulty securing accommodation. This will likely discourage moves as it would require sacrificing the tenure security offered by social housing. However, policy initiatives that improve the <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/sites/default/files/migration/documents/PES-358-Lessons-from-public-housing-urban-renewal-evaluation.pdf">quality of the public housing stock</a> can reduce feelings of being stuck.</p> <p>As <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-welfare/home-ownership-and-housing-tenure">homeownership rates decline</a> both among young people and those nearing retirement, we can expect the population of older renters to grow.</p> <p>Overall, our findings support a strong case for policy reform in the rental sectors to address the needs and preferences of older renters.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/218024/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/christopher-phelps-378137"><em>Christopher Phelps</em></a><em>, Research Fellow, School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/curtin-university-873">Curtin University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rachel-ong-viforj-113482">Rachel Ong ViforJ</a>, ARC Future Fellow &amp; Professor of Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/curtin-university-873">Curtin University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/william-clark-1488932">William Clark</a>, Research Professor of Geography, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-california-los-angeles-1301">University of California, Los Angeles</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/stay-or-go-most-older-australians-want-to-retire-where-they-are-but-renters-dont-always-get-a-choice-218024">original article</a>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

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Millions of Aussies set for power bill relief

<p>Millions of Aussies are set for some financial relief, with electricity costs set to drop by up to 7 per cent in the coming months. </p> <p>The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) and Victoria's Essential Services Commission (ESC) both released their draft default market offers - the maximum energy retailers are allowed to charge customers - for the 2024-25 financial year. </p> <p>Under the AER draft, residents in Sydney, Newcastle and the Hunter on the default offer will pay between 3 and 3.4 per cent less for electricity starting from July 1. </p> <p>The biggest drop is set for Victoria, with the ESC proposing a 6.4 per cent decrease. </p> <p>Those in Western Sydney, the Illawarra, and South Coast, will see their electricity bills decrease by 1.9 to 7.1 per cent. </p> <p>South Australians will receive a drop between 0.5 and 2.5 per cent. </p> <p>A number of small business customers will also benefit from lower power bill costs with 9.7 per cent for Sydney, Newcastle and the Hunter; 4.4 per cent for Western Sydney and the South Coast; 0.3 per cent for South-East Queensland; 8.2 per cent for South Australia; and 7 per cent for Victoria.</p> <p>Energy Minister Chris Bowen welcomed the news of lower power bill costs, but acknowledged that it will continue to play a part in the cost of living challenges faced by many Australians. </p> <p>"This is encouraging news," he said.</p> <p>"Encouraging for those small businesses and families who will receive lower energy bills as a result.</p> <p>"But nobody should suggest that there aren't real cost of living pressures around the world and in Australia, and energy prices are of course part of that and will continue to be."</p> <p>Not everyone will see a drop, with customers in the rest of regional NSW to get a small increase of 0.9 per cent, while the default offer for South East Queensland will increase by up to 2.7 per cent.</p> <p>While not all households are on the default offer, Bowen said that the AER's decision will also affect those not on the offer. </p> <p>"This either impacts directly or indirectly your energy bill," he said.</p> <p>"Directly for those on the default market offer. For those who aren't on the direct market offer, indirectly - the energy companies have to benchmark themselves against this, tell their consumers how they compare to this, and it provides very real pressure on them to match it.</p> <p>"If they don't, consumers will know about it and will make choices accordingly.</p> <p>"It's partly about those on the default market offer, but it actually impacts on all our bills indirectly."</p> <p>AER chair Clare Savage said that the cost of living crisis was the main contributor for their draft decision. </p> <p>"We know that economic conditions have put pressure on many Australians and the increases in electricity prices over the last two years has made energy less affordable for many households," she said. </p> <p>"In light of this, the AER has, in this decision, placed increased weight on protecting consumers." </p> <p>The draft decision is not final, with both the AER and ESC to receive consultation and feedback from stakeholders before confirming their default market offers in May.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

Money & Banking

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What is negative gearing and what is it doing to housing affordability?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michelle-cull-340911">Michelle Cull</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney University</a></em></p> <p>Australia’s housing crisis is putting the <a href="https://www.mortgagechoice.com.au/guides/what-is-the-great-australian-dream/">Australian dream</a> to own one’s home out of reach for many.</p> <p>But it’s not just <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-welfare/home-ownership-and-housing-tenure">home ownership</a> that has been affected. Rental affordability has also become a serious issue. This has reignited the debate about negative gearing; whether or not it is fair and whether it holds the key to fixing the housing crisis.</p> <h2>What is negative gearing?</h2> <p><a href="https://treasury.gov.au/review/tax-white-paper/negative-gearing">Negative gearing</a> refers to using borrowed money to invest in an asset so it results in a loss which can be claimed as a tax deduction against other income. For example, a property investment is negatively geared if the net rental income received is lower than the mortgage interest. The loss is then offset against other income, such as wages and salaries, which reduces the amount of income tax payable.</p> <p>Negative gearing is commonly used for property investments but also applies to other investments (such as shares). Investments can also be positively geared when net income from the investment is more than the interest on borrowings.</p> <p>The attractiveness of negative gearing in Australia is mainly due to its ability to reduce the amount of income tax. For this reason, it can be more beneficial to individuals who are on higher marginal tax rates. However, capital gains tax must be paid on any gain when the asset is sold.</p> <h2>How does negative gearing work?</h2> <p>Let’s look at a simple example of negative gearing. Say an investment property was rented to tenants at A$500 a week ($26,000 a year), and associated expenses (such as agent fees, rates, mortgage interest, maintenance) were $40,000 for the year. This leaves a shortfall of $14,000.</p> <p>The property owner can deduct the $14,000 from their taxable income to reduce their liability. For example if they received $100,000 from wages, they would pay tax on only $86,000 (saving $4,550 in income tax). Individuals on higher incomes and therefore higher marginal tax rates would receive larger tax deductions (for example, someone earning over $180,001 would pay $6,300 less tax).</p> <p>While negative gearing an investment property can reduce tax while it is being rented, it can also result in a large <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals-and-families/investments-and-assets/capital-gains-tax/what-is-capital-gains-tax">capital gains tax</a> bill once the property is sold (even though capital gains tax is halved for assets held for more than 12 months).</p> <p>For example, if the cost base for a property purchased ten years ago was $400,000 and it sells for $900,000 today, capital gains tax would be calculated on half of the $500,000 difference. At a marginal rate of 45%, the tax bill would be $112,500.</p> <h2>How widespread is it in Australia?</h2> <p>According to the <a href="https://data.gov.au/data/dataset/taxation-statistics-2020-21">Australian Taxation Office</a>, about 2.25 million individual tax payers (21% of all individual tax payers) claimed deductions against rental income for a total 3.25 million properties in 2020-21 financial year.</p> <p>Of these, 47% negatively geared their properties, claiming a net rental loss. This is equivalent to just less than 10% of all taxpayers. Investors with fewer properties were more likely to be using negative gearing with over 71% of property investors having only one investment property.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="Wv9lV" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/Wv9lV/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>The largest group of property investors (524,220) had one investment property and a total annual taxable income between $50,001 and $100,000. The chart above shows the proportion of property investors by age group.</p> <p>From 2016-2017 to 2020-2021, the total net rental income on property investments in Australia went from a loss of $3.3 billion to a gain of $3.1 billion (as you can see from the chart below).</p> <p>For the same period, the proportion of investors negatively gearing their properties dropped from 58% to 47%, as lower interest rates reduced losses.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="fXnoe" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/fXnoe/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>Negative gearing is also becoming less attractive with the government’s recent changes to <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/tax-cuts">tax brackets and marginal tax rates</a>. According to a study conducted by <a href="https://www.pexa.com.au/staticly-media/2023/03/Whitepaper-2-Private-renting-in-Australia-a-broken-system_compressed-sm-1679450145.pdf">LongView and PEXA</a>, 60% of property investors would be financially better off if they instead put their money into a superannuation fund.</p> <h2>When was it introduced?</h2> <p>Negative gearing has been allowed under tax laws since 1936. It was thought it would encourage investment in housing and increase supply.</p> <p>However, debate around its impact on housing affordability led the government to partially abolish it in 1985 by not allowing rental property losses to reduce tax on other sources of income.</p> <p>There was a shortage of housing and rents rose during the two years it was abolished. As a result, in 1987, negative gearing was reinstated and capital gains tax legislation was introduced.</p> <h2>Is it used in other countries?</h2> <p>Canada, Germany, Japan and Norway use negative gearing. In Finland, France and the United States, rental losses can offset future rental income only. In the US, <a href="https://www.irs.gov/publications/p936#en_US_2023_publink1000229891">home owners are entitled</a> to claim a tax deduction for mortgage interest on their own home.</p> <p>The use and benefit of negative gearing depends upon all aspects of a country’s tax system. So although it may be attractive in countries with high marginal tax rates, other taxes such as capital gains tax, land tax and stamp duties may reduce its appeal.</p> <h2>Negative gearing’s impact on housing affordability</h2> <p>Many factors affect the cost of housing, including interest rates, inflation, employment, the overall taxation system and population growth, making housing affordability a complex issue.</p> <p><a href="https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/nz-kills-tax-loophole-on-property-to-slow-soaring-house-prices-20210323-p57d9s.html">In New Zealand, negative gearing is being phased out</a> due to its impact on housing prices.</p> <p>However, unlike Australia, New Zealand does not have capital gains tax, making negative gearing more popular and more likely to impact housing prices. In addition to phasing out negative gearing, the New Zealand government <a href="https://www.hud.govt.nz/our-work/public-housing-plan/">increased the supply of public housing</a> and <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-09-25/nz-auckland-house-supply-experiment-results-in-dramatic-change/102846126">relaxed zoning regulations</a> to provide more affordable housing.</p> <p>In Australia, however, there are concerns abolishing negative gearing will cause rents to rise, as they did in the 1980s. More innovative approaches to housing affordability are needed to ensure ample supply of property for first home buyers and tenants.</p> <p>Some consideration could be given to allowing first home buyers to claim a tax deduction for mortgage interest, increasing capital gains tax, limiting the number or type of investment properties held, capping rent increases, or more infrastructure investment from the government for first home buyers and social housing.</p> <p>One or more of these measures would be a step in the right direction. Negative gearing on its own is not the answer to housing affordability. The whole system needs an overhaul, with a combination of measures needed to adequately address affordability, for now and for future generations.</p> <p>Taking no action will put home ownership out of reach for even more Australians.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/223823/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michelle-cull-340911"><em>Michelle Cull</em></a><em>, Associate professor, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-is-negative-gearing-and-what-is-it-doing-to-housing-affordability-223823">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Restaurant sparks outrage for "ridiculous" fee

<p>As inflation rates continue to rise it is not surprising that restaurants are charging extra fees, but one disgruntled customer was particularly shocked to see this "ridiculous" fee on their bill. </p> <p>The customer, who dined at restaurant and cocktail bar in Georgia, USA shamed the restaurant for charging their customers a $20 fee for “live band entertainment”.</p> <p>They shared their complaints on Reddit with a copy of their receipt and an unexpected fee at the bottom which read: “Two Live Band Entertainment Fee — $20”.</p> <p>Most people in the comments were equally annoyed and called the fee "ridiculous". </p> <p>“This is one of those leave money on the table, hand the waiter a tip and leave, sorry but if I didn’t order it, I’m not paying for it,” one wrote. </p> <p>“Great way to not have repeat customers,” said another.</p> <p>“This will backfire for them, just be honest and upfront," a third added. </p> <p>Other commenters were less sympathetic and did not understand why the customer was complaining when it looked like they could afford it. </p> <p>“When you’re paying seven dollars for a bottle of water, you really don’t get to complain about ‘unexpected costs.’ You knew what you signed up for," one commenter wrote. </p> <p>“Imagine a live band getting paid, huh,” another added. </p> <p>“They’re buying $7 bottles of water, they can probably afford it,” added a third.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty/ Reddit</em></p> <p> </p>

Money & Banking

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How baby boomers are benefiting from Australia's "worst financial mistake"

<p>A financial expert has explained how baby boomers have remained largely unscathed by the ongoing housing crisis in Australia. </p> <p>ABC finance guru Alan Kohler described the crisis as Australia's "worst financial mistake", as Adelaide has now become the country's second least affordable city. </p> <p>The South Australian capital, which has long been known as one of the more affordable places in the country to live, has skyrocketed in price, as the median price for houses and units in Adelaide was $721,376 in January, which is 7.9 times higher than the state's average full-time salary of $91,026.</p> <p>"There are a couple of things that might surprise you: Adelaide became the second, least affordable Australian city last year," Mr Kohler explained.</p> <p>"Adelaide has just taken over from Hobart in second place."</p> <p>"What's going on: put simply, incomes in Adelaide, Hobart and Brisbane are not keeping up with house prices, which are being pushed up by fast-rising population and by first-home buyers."</p> <p>Mr Kohler, a baby boomer, noted that when he and his wife bought their first home in Melbourne for $40,000 in 1980, he was earning $11,500 as a journalist, meaning his home cost just 3.5 times his income before a mortgage deposit.</p> <p>"When my wife and I bought our first house in 1980, the average house price was 3.5 times average income," he said. "Now, it's 7.5 times and rising."</p> <p>"That didn't have to happen: it's Australia's worst, economic mistake."</p> <p>Mr Kohler said parents were increasingly propping up the mortgage deposits of first-home buyers, as first-home buyer subsidies from the federal government only pushed up property prices.</p> <p>"Despite rising prices and crushing interest rates, first-home buyers were the fastest-growing type of borrower," he said.</p> <p>"The Bank of Mum and Dad coughing up early inheritances and politicians showering them with grants and concessions, desperate to appear to be doing something about affordability while actually making it worse."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock / ABC</em></p> <p class="mol-para-with-font" style="font-size: 16px; margin: 0px 0px 16px; padding: 0px; min-height: 0px; letter-spacing: -0.16px; font-family: graphik, Arial, sans-serif;"> </p>

Money & Banking

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Restaurant's kind act for struggling Aussies

<p>As Aussies continue to adapt to the rising cost-of-living, one restaurant owner took it upon herself to give back to the "struggling" community. </p> <p>Aleeya Hamidan the owner of Manoosh & Co in Eagle Vale, southwest of Sydney, realised that a lot of people in the community are struggling to afford food.</p> <p>"Prices are going up in rent, and there are a lot of large families that live here as well. They don't have much spare money to go out and eat with their kids after school,"  she told <em>Yahoo News Australia</em>.</p> <p>So, she decided to implement a system where customers in need can get a free meal that has been paid for by other customers. </p> <p>The text: "Please take one if [you're] in need!! Already paid for from our beautiful customers" is written on a whiteboard, with six receipts containing various orders valued at around $10-$12 attached to it. </p> <p>Hamidan was the first to put up an order on the board a few weeks ago to encourage other customers to do the same, and the system has grown in popularity since. </p> <p>"One man came in a few weeks ago and took one of the free meals, but the following week when he did have money, he purchased one for someone else," she said. </p> <p>"We just didn't want it to be intimidating for people who can't afford our products.</p> <p>"It was just something we started doing for a little but have now continued to do. We've had such amazing feedback on it."</p> <p>The restaurant owner's kind deed was praised after local woman Amanda Mauga posted a picture of the board on social media. </p> <p>"If you are having a hard time and need a meal or coffee, go down to Manoosh Eagle Vale," she shared in a community Facebook page. </p> <p>"People buy food for people who need it. So if you're in need head down there, I have left you a coffee. Enjoy."</p> <p>Mauga said that she "felt inspired to help" after seeing the thoughtful gesture, and wanted to help those who were homeless and struggling in their community "in some small way". </p> <p>The post racked up thousands of likes and comments from people impressed by the "great initiative". </p> <p>"What a great idea! We need more like this. So many people are struggling, bravo," one wrote. </p> <p>"Well done folks... nice there are caring people around," another commented</p> <p>"What an amazing shop for even doing this," a third commented.</p> <p><em>Images: Manoosh & Co</em></p> <p> </p>

Domestic Travel

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Tenants forced to pay landlord after fleeing their “uninhabitable” rental

<p dir="ltr">A family has been ordered to pay their former landlords $3,000 after they “abandoned” they “uninhabitable” rental property. </p> <p dir="ltr">Bechara Rizk and Ariye Atayi Juma claimed that the Sydney home was unlivable, given the unrelenting infestation of cockroaches and other bugs. </p> <p dir="ltr">When the couple moved into the home with their young daughter on April 29th 2023, they immediately noticed “tiny insects and small cockroaches” in the linen cupboard, living area, master bedroom, second bedroom and main bathroom.</p> <p dir="ltr">They said the house was completely inundated with insects, as they found them on the walls, doors, skirting boards, carpets and in the toilets.</p> <p dir="ltr">Rizk emailed the real estate agency saying he did not consider the property habitable — especially for his young daughter.</p> <p dir="ltr">“(We) went to the property an hour ago for the first time since we received the keys yesterday and there were tiny insects and cockroaches alive and dead in every room,” the email said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I have taken some videos if you need to see evidence but, most importantly, we are not comfortable bringing a small baby who is crawling to live in this apartment.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“I am writing to formally pull out of the lease and wanting to understand what the repercussions are for us.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The real estate offered to arrange a pest control service, to which the couple turned down as they believed the problem was too far gone to be fixed easily. </p> <p dir="ltr">After returning the keys on May 1st, Rizk sent an email the next day requesting their bond and deposit be returned.</p> <p dir="ltr">A pest controller treated the home on May 3rd, recording that a “small amount of (insect) activity” had been located and treated.</p> <p dir="ltr">In a letter to Rizk and Juma the next day, the real estate agency said the pest controller had found “no evidence of a pest infestation in the property” and the couple’s claim the property was uninhabitable was without merit.</p> <p dir="ltr">Rizk replied, “We have pulled out of our lease not due to a change of mind, it is uninhabitable and simply not what we signed up for.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We cannot live in an insect-infested apartment with a young baby.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“As any parent should understand, our child is our first priority and at the very least it would be irresponsible and the most could potentially put her in harm.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The matter between the family and the landlord ended up in the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal, with the couple seeking repayment of their bond while the landlords asked for compensation for the couple’s “abandonment” of the lease.</p> <p dir="ltr">Tribunal member Ross Glover found that the couple did in fact abandon the property, and were ordered to pay their former landlord $3,000 in compensation. </p> <p dir="ltr">The amount was deducted from the couple's bond which left no remaining balance to be refunded to them. </p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em><span id="docs-internal-guid-ce22768c-7fff-0303-0182-7d6aa3cd857a"></span></p>

Money & Banking

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Real estate agency slammed for "greedy" rental increase

<p>Real estate agency Nelson Alexander has come under fire after increasing the weekly rent to one of their vacant properties on the day of the viewing. </p> <p>The property, located in the inner suburbs of Melbourne, had a scheduled viewing on Thursday and many hopeful tenants were keen to check it out. </p> <p>Unfortunately, their interest came at a cost, as the agency sent out a text just hours beforehand saying that they were increasing  the weekly rent from $600 to $650 due to "overwhelming" demand.</p> <p>Journalist Jacqueline Felgate shared the text on social media, and many branded the agency's move as  "greedy" and "disgraceful" and even accused them of perpetuating the rental crisis. </p> <p>The exact location of the property and the number of bedrooms it has <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">is unknown, and after receiving all the backlash, the ad has since been pulled. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">The real estate agency also apologised and said that </span>they "do not solicit or encourage any form of rental bidding".</p> <p>"Whilst the current issue at hand is not a breach of legislation, it fell short of our commitment to fair and transparent practices," the statement read.</p> <p>"We are deeply aware of the moral and social responsibility we have to our community during these challenging times."</p> <p>They also added that they are currently reviewing their processes to "ensure this doesn't ever happen again". </p> <p>It is unclear whether the property has been put back on the market and for what price. </p> <p><em style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 16px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #323338; font-family: Figtree, Roboto, 'Noto Sans Hebrew', 'Noto Kufi Arabic', 'Noto Sans JP', sans-serif; background-color: #ffffff; outline: none !important;">Images: Instagram</em></p>

Money & Banking

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"Proud to pay more": The billionaires who want to pay more tax

<p>Over 250 millionaires and billionaires have issued an <a href="https://proudtopaymore.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">open letter</a> to global leaders encouraging them to implement wealth taxes to combat the cost-of-living crisis. </p> <p>This comes just as a report by the <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/money-banking/shocking-amount-australia-s-richest-people-earn-per-hour" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Oxfam Charity</a> revealed that the global wealth of billionaires have only grown in the last three years despite inflation. </p> <p>The open letter, signed by super-rich individuals from 17 countries, includes signatories like Abigail Disney, the grand-niece of Walt Disney, <em>Succession </em>actor Brian Cox, and American philanthropist and Rockefeller family heir Valerie Rockefeller.</p> <p>They said that they would be "proud to pay more taxes" in order to address the  inequality.</p> <p>"Elected leaders must tax us, the super rich,"  the letter read. </p> <p>"This will not fundamentally alter our standard of living, nor deprive our children, nor harm our nations' economic growth.</p> <p>"But it will turn extreme and unproductive private wealth into an investment for our common democratic future."</p> <p>Austrian heir Marlene Engelhorn is also among the voices demanding that they pay more in taxes.</p> <p>"I've inherited a fortune and therefore power, without having done anything for it. And the state doesn't even want taxes on it,"  Engelhorn, who inherited millions from her family who founded chemical giant BASF, said.</p> <p>The letter was released just as global leaders gather in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum.</p> <p>Abigail Disney, whose net-worth is measured at more than $100 million, said that lawmakers need to come together to make a meaningful economic and social change. </p> <p>"There's too much at stake for us all to wait for the ultra rich to grow a conscience and voluntarily change their ways," she said.</p> <p>"For that reason, lawmakers must step in and tax extreme wealth, along with the variety of environmentally destructive habits of the world's richest."</p> <p>A recent <a href="https://static1.squarespace.com/static/63fe48c7e864f3729e4f9287/t/6596bfb943707b56d11f1296/1704378297933/G20+Survey+of+those+with+More+than+%241+million+on+Attitudes+to+Extreme+Wealth+and+Taxing+the+Super+Rich.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">survey</a> of almost 2400 millionaires found that 74 per cent of them supported the introduction of a wealth tax to fund improved public services and deal with the cost-of-living crisis.</p> <p>The open letter also said that one-off donations and philanthropy "cannot redress the current colossal imbalance" of societal wealth.</p> <p>"We need our governments and our leaders to lead," the letter said. </p> <p>"The true measure of a society can be found, not just in how it treats its most vulnerable, but in what it asks of its wealthiest members."</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

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Coles shopper admits to stealing to feed her family amid cost of living crisis

<p>A woman has made a desperate plea to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese after overhearing a teary Coles shopper admit to shoplifting to feed her family. </p> <p>The woman was shopping in her local Coles supermarket when she overheard another shopper confess the desperate act to her friend, as the cost of living crisis continues to impact struggling Aussies. </p> <p>Australia’s cost of living crisis is continuing to see millions struggle with soaring interest rates and rent prices, high energy bills and rising supermarket costs, with many being forced to take drastic measures to survive. </p> <p>Sharing on Facebook, the woman said she was feeling “let down” and “hoodwinked” by the Albanese government after listening to the Coles customer’s heartbreaking story.</p> <p>“Anthony Albanese, I am so deeply saddened to hear someone shopping at Coles admit to her friend in tears that sometimes she now steals food because she simply can’t put food on the table any other way,” she wrote.</p> <p>“Of course there is food relief et al (but those services are also at breaking point). It’s disheartening to witness firsthand the desperation that leads someone to resort to theft just to put food on the table."</p> <p>“While I have you, I am feeling let down and somewhat hoodwinked by you. Your sentiment around truly understanding hardship because of your upbringing seems to have been just talk."</p> <p>“What I heard today made me realise that not enough is being done that was promised to make a positive impact on the lives of those struggling with adversity.”</p> <p>Many commented on the post saying not enough was being done to help battling Aussies, and urging the government to do more. </p> <p>“The line at ReachOut (food pantry) was around the corner and down the street this afternoon,” one said.</p> <p>Another added, “Food costs are beyond ridiculous right now. I fear that the horse has bolted and once it’s out ... it’s not coming back for pats.</p> <p>“And sorry to say but Albo is just another politician. Hope he sees this and listens but I’m not holding my breath. Sad state of affairs.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

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Kochie's brutal message to Baby Boomers

<p>David Koch has shared his brutal thoughts on the housing crisis and rising interest rates, claiming millennials have been dealt the "short end of the stick", while boomers have been spared. </p> <p>The former <em>Sunrise</em> host, who is now the Economic Director at Compare the Market, said young borrowers are copping the brunt of rising interest rates and soaring inflations. </p> <p>“If you bought your home in early 2022 under the pretence that interest rates would stay low for longer, you’ve now been lumped with the short end of the stick,” Mr Koch said.</p> <p>He went on to say young people had difficulty generating any decent savings due to record rental prices and cost-of-living, and those that can scrape together a deposit on a home now face onerous interest charges.</p> <p>Recent data from Compare the Market found homeowners who bought their homes at the peak of the market in early 2022 were far worse off compared to those who bought three years earlier. </p> <p>Those who also bought property before the Covid lockdown have also benefited from a rise in their equity, as property prices have significantly increased over the past four years.</p> <p>Kochie said the repayment hike as a result of rising interest rates was a "tough pill" for young Aussies who had no time to accrue a strong savings buffer.  </p> <p>Given these factors, Kochie said many Aussie baby boomers have been spared the pain of rising interest rates.</p> <p>"Meanwhile, a lot of mature Australians have missed this pain altogether after selling their properties at the peak and having reaped the benefits over more equity for years," he said.</p> <p>"A lot of mature Australians have been shielded from the rate rises, and it's already widely believed that their spending drove inflation."</p> <p>A recent report from CommBank iQ found that baby boomers spending on luxuries appears to be further fuelling Australia's inflation crisis as millennials are forced to cut back on essentials.</p> <p>This goes a long way to explaining why the current cycle of interest rate rises are not dampening inflation as expected, as the new big spenders are older people who own properties outright and are therefore unaffected by rate rises.</p> <p>Boomers are are going on holidays and dining out more often, while millennials, battling higher rents and mortgage repayments, rare being forced to reduce their spending to cope with the worst cost of living crisis in a generation.</p> <p>Koch said, "It's time policy-makers should be asking: how could the pressure be more evenly spread?"</p> <p>Aussie baby boomers have long claimed that they had to make the same sacrifices when they were buying their first homes, given the home loan rate in 1989 to 1990 was at 17 per cent, compared to today's six per cent variable rates.</p> <p>However, Kochie debunked this claim, saying current house prices are far higher when measured against average salaries, and that level was only accelerating, far outpacing wages growth.</p> <p>"Back in the 80s, the average cost of an Aussie house was $70,000, now it's $700,000 - ten times more expensive," he said. </p> <p>The financial guru explained how in the 1980s the average salary was $19,000, compared with $94,000 in 2023.</p> <p>"So in the 80s, the price of a house was four times the average person's income," he said.</p> <p>"In 2023, it's eight times the average Aussie salary."</p> <p>Kochie urged mortgage holders hit with higher repayments to call their banks and explore whether refinancing to a lower-rate loan is possible. </p> <p>"We urge people in mortgage pain to reduce the interest on their repayments as much as possible by shopping around for a better deal," Koch said. </p> <p>"When every dollar counts, 2024 should be the year of the new lender."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Compare the Market </em></p>

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The cost-of-living crisis is hitting hard. Here are 3 ways to soften the blow

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ama-samarasinghe-1386754">Ama Samarasinghe</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a></em></p> <p>As our wallets feel the strain from the cost-of-living crisis, many of us are looking for ways to soften the blow.</p> <p>While everyone’s circumstances are different, and ideally you should seek help from an accredited financial adviser, there are some tried and true ways to work out where all your money is going and why.</p> <p>Here are three practical tips to reduce the impact of the cost-of-living increases, and stretch every hard-earned dollar.</p> <h2>1. Hunt for a better loan rate</h2> <p>For many households, the biggest hit comes from the mortgage, so start there.</p> <p>Even a modest 0.5% reduction can translate into substantial savings. Call your bank today and just ask for rate reduction. If the answer is no, consider shopping around for a different lender.</p> <p>Your loyalty to your current lender might be costing you more than you realise. Banks often reserve their most attractive rates for new customers, leaving long-time customers paying higher-than-necessary interest.</p> <p>Even if your bank does agree to a rate reduction, explore the market anyway. There is a range of free rate-comparison websites, or you can directly check individual bank websites.</p> <p>If you find a lender offering a better rate, you might consider calling the competing bank to ask about switching your mortgage to them.</p> <p>Or, you might seek assistance from a mortgage broker, who can guide you through the process of securing a better deal (just remember they often take <a href="https://www.canstar.com.au/home-loans/mortgage-brokers-fees/">commissions</a> from lenders).</p> <p>Tread carefully and factor in any exit fees or charges from your current lender. Refinancing isn’t without risk, so a thorough cost-benefit analysis is important before making the switch.</p> <p>Also consider the value of features such as <a href="https://moneysmart.gov.au/glossary/offset-account">offset accounts</a>. An offset account, linked to your home loan, allows you to deposit money such as your salary and savings. This money is then “<a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/smp/2015/aug/box-e-offset-account-balances-and-housing-credit.html">offset</a>” against your home loan balance.</p> <p>That means you only pay interest on the outstanding amount (the loan minus whatever salary and savings you put in the offset). This can accelerate loan repayment and reduce interest costs.</p> <p>Keep in mind that offset accounts are typically only available with variable interest rates. Offset accounts work best if you have considerable savings to put into the offset account that outweigh the additional fees and charges attached to offset accounts.</p> <h2>2. Trim your expenses and uncover hidden savings</h2> <p>It’s time to become a budget detective, identifying and cutting down on non-essential costs that might be quietly draining your wallet.</p> <p>Take a close look at those recurring memberships and subscriptions. How often do you actually use that gym membership or streaming service?</p> <p>Many banking apps have handy spending tracking features to help you set realistic budget goals for each spending category.</p> <p>According to the <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/economy/price-indexes-and-inflation/selected-living-cost-indexes-australia/latest-release">Australian Bureau of Statistics</a>, insurance and financial services are among the top risers in living cost indexes (which measure the price change of goods and services and its effect on living expenses). So search comparison websites for better insurance premiums.</p> <p>Australia’s insurance market is competitive, and you can often get discounts by bundling your insurances together (for example, having your home and contents insurance with the same company that also provides your car insurance). However, don’t shy away from exploring different insurers for potentially better value.</p> <p>Don’t overlook energy costs, either. Use comparison websites like <a href="https://www.energymadeeasy.gov.au/">Energy Made Easy</a> (or, if you’re in Victoria, the <a href="https://compare.energy.vic.gov.au/">Victorian Energy Compare</a> site) to find more cost-effective energy plans. Stay updated on rebates and concessions via the federal government’s <a href="https://energy.gov.au">Energy.gov.au</a> site, to ensure you’re maximising your entitlements.</p> <p>Use less energy, if you can. Small adjustments can make a significant dent in your bills. And for fuel costs, find websites and applications that allow you to lock in the lowest prices in your area.</p> <p>If you’re renting, ask yourself whether moving to a cheaper suburb or a cheaper home is an option.</p> <p>Many people use cashback sites like Cashrewards and ShopBack to accrue cashback incentives.</p> <h2>3. Maximise returns and tackle high-interest debts</h2> <p>While rising interest rates might make your mortgage climb, it also means high interest on your savings.</p> <p>Consider exploring high-yield savings accounts; with current interest rates, you could potentially earn around 5.5% with a bank savings account. Many people set up recurring transfers to help them stick to savings goals, increase deposits and maximise interest earnings.</p> <p>For those wrestling with high-interest debts such as credit cards or personal loans, prioritise settling outstanding balances to minimise interest payments. It can be hard to escape the long-term repercussions (such as a <a href="https://theconversation.com/payday-lending-trap-requires-a-credit-supply-rethink-39311">poor credit score</a>) of defaulting on <a href="https://www.sydney.edu.au/news-opinion/news/2022/09/21/researchers-uncover--pecking-order-of-defaults--as-belts-tighten.html">high-interest loans</a>.</p> <p>And approach buy-now, pay-later services with extreme caution. They may seem tempting but the <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/acfi.13100">debts can quickly add up</a>.</p> <p>And if you need more help, contact the government’s free National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/218118/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ama-samarasinghe-1386754"><em>Ama Samarasinghe</em></a><em>, Lecturer, Financial Planning and Tax, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-cost-of-living-crisis-is-hitting-hard-here-are-3-ways-to-soften-the-blow-218118">original article</a>.</em></p>

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"You are the problem": Landlord slammed over rent increase just before Christmas

<p>An Australian landlord has been slammed online for deciding to raise the rent on one of her struggling tenants before Christmas. </p> <p>The landlord from WA took to social media to try to defend her decision to slap her tenant, who is a single mother, with a $100 rental increase at the start of the festive season. </p> <p>The woman, who owns four rental properties, explained that the increase comes from the growing market value in the suburb the tenant lives. </p> <p>"I decided to increase the rent by $100 a week for my tenant, who is a single mum with two kids, on the basis a reasonable rental increase would have been an extra $140 a week," she began in the video shared to her X account.</p> <p>"I recognise that she probably couldn't afford that. So I came to the conclusion that $100 would be a very good deal considering the suburb and it would be one of the cheaper rentals on the market."</p> <p>The tenant said that she is unable to afford the steep increase, especially in the weeks before Christmas, and would have to decide between affording her rent and feeding her young children. </p> <p>"So now I'm in a position. Do I subsidise the tenant's rent and cop it out of my own pocket... or do I tell this tenant she can't afford this particular suburb and she should look for somewhere more reasonable," the landlord said.</p> <p>"It's a really tough decision and one that I am not taking on lightly and just further evidence that this housing crisis is really impacting people financially."</p> <p>In the end, she decided to increase the tenant's rent. </p> <p>"I increased the tenant's rent by $100 per week after I did further research. The rent is still $30-$40 per under market value. Now I'm learning you can't mix emotions with business," she said. </p> <p>The landlord has been rinsed online, with many people calling out her callous actions in the festive season, dubbing her as "greedy" and contributing to nation's housing problem. </p> <p>"Jesus, I cannot imagine increasing a rent by $100 a week- that would ruin anyone, let alone a single mum. What are you thinking of? Have some ethics," one person said.</p> <p>"You and the real estate industry are the problem! Hiking the rent based on your real estate greed. If you recognise the social issues why do you add to the problem?" another person added.</p> <p>A third person chimed, "Is this satire? Surely you aren't this much of an awful human being."</p> <p>"I fully understand it's your property - however to increase rent just before Christmas is a little heartless and $100 a week increase is tall during a cost of living crisis," a fourth person said.</p> <p>Others jumped to defend the landlord, claiming owning rental property is a business and not a charity. </p> <p>One person commented, "Take the emotion out of it! It's an investment property not a charity! As harsh as that sounds it's the cost of being successful. But, perhaps leave it until after Christmas though as a goodwill gesture."</p> <p><em>Image credits: X / Instagram </em></p>

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Women forced to do shocking act for $100 rent reduction

<p>Two women in Queensland have claimed that they were forced to use a makeshift  "temporary shower" outdoors, while renovations are being carried out in the property's only bathroom. </p> <p>The pair, who were expecting a porta-loo style shower to use during the four-to-six weeks renovation, were horrified when they found out the makeshift shower was just a blue tarpaulin attached to the side of the house.</p> <p>Electrical cords and plumbing pipes can be spotted hanging down in front of the open cubicle, and has no curtain for privacy or a lock, raising questions for their privacy and safety. </p> <p>To make matters worse, the women revealed on Facebook that they initially tried negotiating for a rental discount of $200 per week during the renovations, but their landlord said "no way" offering only a $50 discount, "then $100 as final offer".</p> <p>Dr Chris Martin, Senior Research Fellow in the University of NSW's City Futures Research Centre, slammed the landlord for "a bunch of possible breaches". </p> <p>"There is a big question about whether the temporary arrangement meets the minimum standards that apply to rented premises in Queensland under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act," he told <em>Yahoo News</em>. </p> <p>"Those minimum standards include that the bathroom and toilet facilities must provide privacy and that a premise must be weatherproof and structurally sound, and there's a standard about security," he added. </p> <p>He also claimed that "there's a bunch of possible breaches of the minimum standards of this temporary arrangement," as intruders could also potentially get in. </p> <p>The Senior Research Fellow also slammed the $100-a-week reduction in rent, calling it "grossly insufficient".</p> <p>"What a professional landlord who takes a bit of pride in themselves as a reputable housing provider would have done, is hire one of those portable bathrooms that come on a little trailer with a little heater and hook it up, and also do a rent reduction for the hassle of having to trot out to the trailer to shower," he said.</p> <p>"That would be the appropriate response."</p> <p>He encouraged the tenants to speak to Tenants Queensland or a local tenants advice service about what to do, adding that they could say that the current temporary arrangements could be deemed "unlivable or uninhabitable". </p> <p>"I suggest they should also be telling the landlord that this arrangement may place the landlord in a further breach of the agreement and for the liability for an even bigger rent reduction and the prospect of compensation if they don't do this better,"  Dr Martin told the publication. </p> <p><em>Images: Facebook</em></p>

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