Crippling rent surges force employees out

By Josephine Gillespie

FOR Ampol Churchill manager John Patrick, the issue of Ipswich's escalating rent prices has hit home, with more than half of his full-time staff facing finding new accommodation.

On Thursday The Queensland Times reported the average rent for a two-bedroom flat had risen to $200, $225 for a two-bedroom house, $260 for a three-bedroom flat and three-bedroom house.

It was an average of $310 for a four-bedroom house, $220 for two-bedroom townhouse and $280 for a three-bedroom townhouse.

Mr Patrick said he had three staff affected, one whose rent was set to increase from $220 to $350 for a North Ipswich home, the second whose home of four months was being sold.

A third staff member, who moved to Ipswich for work in January, found agents taking photos of his home last week.

"I've finally got stable staff and if they can't find accommodation I am faced with the prosect of losing them because if they can't afford to live in the area, they will have to find work elsewhere," he said.

Mr Patrick said they were good workers he would not want to lose.

"If someone comes to me and I really want to keep them, but their rent has gone up and they can't afford to keep working here, they have to either find the extra money to pay the rent, or I have to cough up the extra money to try to keep them," he said.

Console operator Jenny Ashworth has worked at the service station for four years and lived at her North Ipswich home with her daughter for seven years.

Ms Ashworth said each year her rent had increased and with the lease up in October, she was on the look-out for a new home.

"I won't get a house for $180 again unless it's a tiny one," she said.

"If I have to move further away, with the cost of fuel these days it would be easier to get a job nearer the house."

Ms Ashworth said it was a tough situation as a move would mean she would have to leave a job she was happy with and potentially disrupt her daughter's final year at high school.

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