Only two per cent of rentals in the region are affordable for aged care workers and early childhood educators, an alarming new report has revealed.
Anglicare's Essential Workers Report reveals employees in fields like education, healthcare and emergency services are being increasingly priced out of the rental market in central western NSW.
According to the report, people working in aged care, childcare, hospitality and retail would have the hardest time finding an affordable rental - with only two per cent of available rentals within their price range.
How many Central West rentals can key workers afford?
For nurses and construction workers in the central west, only three per cent of available rentals would be considered affordable.
The market isn't much more promising for ambulance officers, with only six per cent of rentals affordable, and for firefighters and school teachers, with eight per cent.
Anglicare Australia executive director Kasy Chambers said the lack of affordable housing in the region was exacerbating worker shortages in key industries.
"So many essential industries are facing workforce shortages with workers unable to afford to stay or move to parts of the country where these shortages are at their worst.
These numbers help explain why."
The Essential Workers Report comes off the back of Anglicare's Rental Affordability Snapshot, which revealed housing affordability in western NSW is "worse than ever" for those relying on government support or earning minimum wage.
Anglicare NSW West CEO Brandon Howard said both reports highlight that more needs to be done to address the housing crisis.
"These workers are absolutely vital to the daily operation, the safety and the liveability of our communities," he said.
"We rely on the important contribution of these individuals and the roles they play in our communities. We must do more to make sure they can continue to live in the places in which they serve."
National cabinet meet on housing
On Wednesday night, National Cabinet met in Brisbane with a focus on delivering more secure and affordable housing.
They agreed to a new target of 1.2 million new homes to be built in the next five years - 200,000 more than what was pledged as part of the National Housing Accord target. The federal government also pledged $3 billion to support the states and territories in building the new homes
National cabinet also agreed to a measure to limit rent increases to once a year.
Mr Howard welcomed the changes.
"Anglicare stands ready to partner with the government to ensure everyone has access to safe and affordable housing," he said.
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