This research modelled a range of economic outcomes on employment and unemployment by sector, on earnings and incomes, and then on the housing outcomes of specific groups of interest in Australia from late 2020 and through 2021.
These groups included home owners, private renters, and small investor landlords. It included a specific focus on three types of household: those suffering financial stress, those living on the edge (being close to losing their homes), and those living in double precarity (facing job insecurity and unaffordable housing).
Australia can be seen as one of the more proactive nations in the world, having urgently implemented a number of government funded policy interventions early in the crisis. In particular, the JobKeeper payment was developed and introduced in mid-to-late March 2020. The Treasury reports that it had three principal functions: supporting business and job survival; preserving employment relationships; and providing income support.
The research found that the number of households living in a precarious situation is very high, and will likely remain high even after a partial recovery in 2021 and the withdrawal of much of the Australian Government’s income support measures.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on younger workers, and those working in less secure public facing occupations. Lower income workers and private renters are disproportionately affected. Consideration should be given to additional supports after March 2021 that would benefit the household categories identified. Consideration might be given to rent relief schemes since it is clear that these, working in conjunction with CRA, have a strong impact on reducing housing affordability stress.