QCOSS’ 2021 Living Affordability in Queensland report shows many Queensland households are struggling to afford the basics. 

QCOSS CEO Aimee McVeigh said, “We are in a housing crisis and the increasing cost of living means that many people are making impossible choices between rent, food and paying the bills.  

“Our report shows that low-income households are unable to make ends meet. 

Of the seven households modelled in the QCOSS report, just two were able to meet a basic standard of living Queensland-wide. Regional differences were stark – with a single-parent household in Cairns ending an ordinary week with a $126 deficit.  

Housing costs were the largest source of stress for the households, with some model families spending up to 46 per cent of their income on rent or mortgage payments.  

The Living Affordability in Queensland report shows that $45-a-day income support payments have entrenched poverty.  

“Government can put an end to poverty by lifting income support. The COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated that, when there is political will, it is possible to pull people out of poverty,” said McVeigh. 

The Living Affordability in Queensland report is an annual study undertaken by QCOSS in collaboration with our member organisations, and support from Griffith University Business School. This year’s report models the income and expenditure of seven sample low-income household types in 15 regions of Queensland and provides analysis of changes in cost of living relative to income. 

According to the report, all model households struggled to reach the most basic standards of living.  

The report also shows that paid employment does not guarantee living affordability. Four of the model households are ‘working poor’ because, despite being employed, they are unable to cover the basic costs of living. 

The realities of the impact of financial hardship on Queenslanders are underscored from the insights of frontline community service staff in the report. QCOSS interviewed 98 frontline workers and financial counsellors. They said that the primary impact of inadequate income on a household is the inability to meet day-to-day expenses such as food, clothing, rent, energy and water

16 December 2021 |Focus area: