Hundreds of people struggling to find housing gathered outside Sydney Town Hall on Saturday to rally for better living conditions and cheaper rent.

The rally was hosted by Get a Room, a campaign from the National Union of Students. Protestors gathered to demand more public housing, rent freezes and stronger renter rights from the Albanese government.

Yasmine Johnson, member of the University of Sydney Students’ Representative Council, said that students, particularly international students, are being hit the hardest by the housing crisis.

‘“They come and there are these student housing providers that charge them ridiculous amounts of money, and I think everyone has the right to an affordable, safe, quality place to live, but they’re not getting that,” Ms Johnson said.

“International students so often end up getting exploited by the system in Australia. Plus, now there’s just all of this racism about, you know, it’s migrants causing the housing crisis, when really the landlords, the billionaire property developers and the government are the ones to blame,”

According to SQM research group, the weekly cost of rent in Australia has risen 9% over the past year to a national average of $651, or around 35% of the average full-time worker’s weekly salary.

The Labor government raised fortnightly rental assistance payments by 15% in the 2023 budget, but protestor Coral Wynter said that they are not doing enough to rectify the mistakes of past government, particularly for young people.

“I’m part of the older generation so I’m okay, but for young people, it’s an abysmal situation and I just feel so sorry for them,” Ms Wynter said “I’m really angry with the Labor government because they’re carrying on the same neo-liberal policies we had in the state and federally previously, and they’ve got to start taking responsibility for this,”

“So many are in an unstable situation, it’s not safe, they can’t sort out their finances, they can’t sort out their life to study or to work, you know, it’s an awful situation, and I really feel for young people,”

Coral Wynter spoke about her ideal solution to the housing crisis

A national housing justice summit will be held next month on Sunday the 8th of October at the Maritime Union of Australia Sydney branch to discuss solutions to the ongoing housing crisis.