People on income support are under increasing financial pressure to afford the basics like housing, food and essential services, QCOSS’ Living affordability in Queensland reports.
The report compares the basic standard of living across five locations in Queensland - Cairns, Mount Isa, Rockhampton, Toowoomba and Brisbane - to see how location and income impact on cost of living. The locations were chosen as they include metropolitan and regional areas. The report focusses on four low-income households, recognising that people surviving on low incomes are struggling the most.
A key finding from the report found income support is not working as intended because it does not provide the support people need to get back on their feet.
“It is appalling that our national elected representatives have not increased Newstart and Youth Allowance in 24 years. They know that households receiving Newstart are under increasing financial pressure to afford the basics like housing, food and essential services,” QCOSS CEO Mr Mark Henley said.
“Politicians and policy makers need to start prioritising living affordability for every person in every community,” Mr Henley said.
“We call on our national elected representatives to raise the Newstart and Youth Allowance by $75 per week.”
Housing costs also continue to be a leading contributor to increasing costs of living across regional locations.
“Every person in Queensland deserves to live a good life but this report shows that many people are struggling to survive, often having to decide between putting food on the table and paying rent. It is not good enough,” Mr Henley said.
The report found rising costs of energy and healthcare are also of concern to people in Queensland, as well as affordable and accessible public transport.
It also recommends investment in place-based community support services for people on low incomes to better manage the cost of living, including financial counselling, housing support, emergency relief, rebates and concessions.
“We need targeted responses to support people experiencing financial vulnerability to make sure everyone in Queensland can, at the very least, access a basic standard of living,” Mr Henley said.
For 60 years, QCOSS has been a leading force for social change to eliminate poverty and disadvantage. With members throughout Queensland, QCOSS supports a strong community service sector.
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