Notes on the data: Housing, rent assistance and vehicle access

Income units in dwellings receiving rent assistance from the Australian Government, June 2023


Policy context: Affordable, secure and safe housing is fundamental to one's health and wellbeing, employment, education and other life opportunities. Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) is a subsidy paid to people in receipt of an eligible Department of Human Services (Centrelink) payment who are paying rent in the private market (including non-government organisations such as community housing providers).

Of the 1.3 million income units receiving CRA in 2022, most were single with no dependent children (46%), had a non-Indigenous reference person (93%), and were aged 45 years or over (55%). The primary payment type that the households received in 2022 were JobSeeker Payment (24%), the Age Pension (23%) and the Disability Support Pension (20%) [1]. In 2022, around 582,400 (44%) income units were in rental stress with CRA. By contrast, an extra 372,600 income units or almost three-quarters of income units (72%) would have been rental stress without receiving CRA in 2022 [1].

The Rental Affordability Index report found that by June 2023:

  • A single person solely reliant on JobSeeker Payment and CRA, with an estimated gross annual income of $22,108, experienced severely unaffordable to extremely unaffordable rents across all metropolitan and regional areas in renting a one-bedroom dwelling.
  • The situation was similar for single-pensioner households seeking to rent a one-bedroom dwelling, with extremely unaffordable to severely unaffordable in metropolitan areas, and severely unaffordable to unaffordable in regional areas.
  • Even a single person employed as a full-time teacher on an estimated income of $104,500 a year was destined to face moderately unaffordable to affordable rental stress in both metropolitan and regional areas [2].


  1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Housing Assistance in Australia. Web report [cited: 20224, Mar 8]. Available from:
  2. SGS Economics and Planning. Rental Affordability Index, November 2023. [cited: 2024 Mar 8]. Available from:

Notes: The denominator chosen to calculate the percentage of income units (approximately equivalent to households) receiving CRA is the number of dwellings at the most recent Census of Population and Housing. The rent assistance data are provided for individual income units, and in a small number of instances there may be multiple individual income units in a household: to the extent that this occurs, the proportion will be understated. In addition, in a small number of instances, recipients may live in non-private dwellings, which are not included in the denominator: again, to the extent that this occurs, the proportion will be overstated. Note that the denominator is from the 2021 Census, as private dwellings data are not available other than in Census years.

Data cells with counts of less than five were suppressed (confidentialised).


Geography: Data available by Population Health Area, Local Government Area, Primary Health Network, Quintile of socioeconomic disadvantage of area and Quintiles within PHNs, and Remoteness Area


Numerator: Renters receiving assistance from the Department of Human Services (Centrelink) at June 2023


Denominator: All occupied private dwellings (2021 Census: 2021 as dwellings data not available other than for Census years)


Detail of analysis: Per cent


Source: Compiled by PHIDU based on data from the Department of Social Services, June 2023; and Australian Bureau of Statistics Census: Dwellings, 2021.


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