New data released today by Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) shows the full extent of the financial impact COVID-19 has had on Queenslanders.

Nearly one in four Queenslanders lost employment or working hours as a result of COVID-19 while 35 per cent of Queenslanders say they have experienced a reduction in their household income.

QCOSS CEO Aimee McVeigh said the economic impact of the pandemic had been felt across the state.

“Queenslanders have been plunged into financial instability over the past 12 months and are facing ongoing pain,” she said.

“But the pandemic has hit some harder than others, with several groups more exposed to financial, employment and mental health consequences.”

Six groups, including women, young adults, renters, casual and part-time employees, the self-employed and those looking for work, stand out as having disproportionately borne the burden of the economic slowdown.

Ms McVeigh said the survey, administered by Deloitte, found women have lost more employment or work hours than men because of COVID-19.

“Women, many of whom are on lower incomes, are also taking the opportunity to withdraw their superannuation early when compared to men.

“This will only widen the financial gap between the sexes and put more pressure on women as they reach retirement age.”

Other key results from the survey include:

  • The proportion of renters stating they had lost employment or working hours was nearly double that of mortgage holders.
  • Similarly, nearly double the amount of renters said they’d found household bills difficult to afford, compared to mortgage holders.
  • 41 per cent of casual or part-time employees had lost employment or working hours, compared to only 12 per cent of full-time employees.
  • The data suggested that the self-employed have also fared particularly badly, which is of great concern given the critical role small business plays in the health and success of the Queensland economy.

“It is critical that we take action to prevent these Queenslanders from falling into ongoing and long-term financial hardship,” Ms McVeigh said.

“Both the state and federal governments need to better target their economic stimulus to appropriately and adequately support these groups.”

QCOSS is calling on the Queensland and federal governments to:

  • maintain JobSeeker payments above the poverty line
  • invest in social housing to alleviate Queensland’s housing crisis
  • invest in energy efficiency and solar for low-income households
  • create a Community Sector Resilience Fund so community services can deliver targeted relief on the ground, where it’s needed.

Read more about our report, COVID-19 impacts on Queenslanders: The unfolding impacts of COVID-19 and how they are distributed among different people 

2 March 2021