Australians condemn RBA boss Philip Lowe for his ‘out of touch’ advice for renters

Jun 01, 2023
Lowe's comments were quickly met with condemnation from everyday Australians. Source: Getty Images.

Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Phillip Lowe has come under fire for comments he made regarding the current housing and rental crisis, many claiming that his comments were “out of touch”.

Lowe made the remarks during a Senate Estimates hearing on Wednesday, May 31. Although he acknowledged that there are those doing it “tough” he enraged Australians after suggesting renters get a housemate to help cover costs.

“Some people are experiencing bigger increases in rent than that, so it’s really hurting some people,” Lowe began.

“The way that this ends up fixing itself, unfortunately, is through higher housing prices and higher rents.

“Because as rents go up people decide not to move out of home, or you don’t have that home office, you [get] a flatmate.

“The increase in supply can’t happen immediately, but higher prices do lead people to economise on housing.

“That’s the price mechanism at work. We need more people on average to live in each dwelling, and prices do that.”

Lowe’s comments were quickly met with condemnation from everyday Australians, who slammed the RBA Governor for being “out of touch”.

Lowe’s comments will no doubt serve as a further blow to older Australians after an inquiry in New South Wales (NSW) found that the housing affordability crisis is pushing Australians over 55 into homelessness. 

The Ageing on the Edge NSW Coalition submitted their inquiry to parliament in 2022, stating senior homelessness was already becoming a significant issue before recent global events.

“There is a significant shortage of social and affordable housing across NSW and the current COVID-19 related challenges and bushfires in 2019-20 among other issues exacerbated the demand for affordable housing,” the report read.

“Even before these crises, there was an increase in the experiences of homelessness among older people. From 2011 to 2016, the number of people aged 55 and over experiencing homelessness in NSW increased by 42% (from 4,529 to 6,407).”

The inquiry, which found that more older Australians are having to rent in retirement, said the insecurity seniors are facing could have devastating health impacts.

“With the decline in home ownership among older people, the NSW Intergenerational report indicates that if those who retire without owning a home require social housing at a similar rate to today’s retirees, this would increase demand for social housing by 68,000 households by 2060-61,” the report found.

“The report also highlights that there would also be consequences if this demand is not met, with those on the social housing waiting list typically experiencing acute housing stress.

“The cumulative effect of homelessness, poverty and disadvantage over long periods may result in people experiencing age-related health conditions from as early as 45 years of age.”

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