The kids are not alright

Young people in generational economic crisis

Faced with higher living costs, low rental vacancy rates and unattainable house prices, young Australians are experiencing an economic crisis that shows no signs of easing — and experts fear it will cause generational inequality to worsen without substantial reform.

In the week since its budget, the federal government’s proposals to take the pressure off the high cost of living have been criticised by many younger Australians who say the measures fail to address the fundamental changes affecting their lives.

“What saddens me is that Labor is only tinkering around the edges, they’re not getting to the heart of the structural issues that mean that young people are on the front line of the cost of living, housing and climate crisis,” Jack Simmons told The Business.

Although the 28-year-old will benefit from the $300 energy bill rebate and the revised stage 3 tax cuts, he is frustrated that high income earners will also benefit from the same measures.

“In a time where wealth inequality is rampant, that to me feels very irresponsible,” he said.

Mr Simmons said that while he is fortunate to have secure work that pays a livable wage and has secure home right now, housing is the area where young professionals feel most disadvantaged.

“I’m in my late 20s, this is the time where I should be saving up for a house deposit. To me, that feels impossible given the way things are at the moment,” he said.

“I think the concept of setting myself up, which maybe previous generations have been able to do in their late 20s and early 30s, feels unattainable for me right now.

For young Australians who grew up wanting to own property in the future, it’s become increasingly common to rethink this ambition or abandon it altogether, CoreLogic’s head of Australian research, Eliza Owen said.

“The Australian dream of owning your own home is out of reach for younger Australians more and more,” she told The Business.

“You only have to look at rates of home ownership to see that we’ve gone from a rate of home ownership of around 71 per cent in the mid 90s, to about 66 per cent as of 2019.

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