Desperate family are forced to sleep on a tiled floor to keep cool as they can’t afford to turn on their air conditioning amid Australia’s cost of living crisis
- Family forced to sleep on cold tiles
- They can’t pay their energy bills
- Aussies feel squeezed by the cost of living
A desperate family has resorted to sleeping on cold tiles to avoid turning on their expensive air conditioning amid Australia’s cost of living crisis.
Karen and her caretaker son Connor have been forced to take desperate measures to keep their heads cool during the sweltering temperatures in south-west Sydney.
Connor admits that during the sweltering evenings, it’s more comfortable to put his pillow on the dining room floor than to sleep in his own bed.
His mother agrees that the 24-hour heat makes her feel like she has heat stroke, but she just can’t afford to turn on the air conditioning.
“The first year we used the air conditioning, the quarterly bill for the summer was about $800,” the mother-of-two told me. A current situation.
“This last bill, which was most of the summer … was $380. This summer we didn’t turn on (the air conditioning) once.”
Connor, from southwest Sydney, admits it’s more comfortable to put his pillow and a fan on the cold tiles in the dining room than to sleep in his own bed at night
Karen uses ice cubes and cold flannels stored in the freezer to cool herself while Connor is constantly under a portable fan.
He contributes to his caretaker’s pension bills, but it’s still not enough for mother and son to afford the air conditioning.
This week, temperatures in Sydney shot up to 39C on Monday and 37C on Tuesday and will remain around 30C over the weekend.
The average quarterly electricity bill in Australia is about $337.
In the 2020-2021 financial year, energy prices fell by seven percent, and the year before that, by nine percent.
In the 2022-2023 fiscal year, energy prices increased by 18 percent, with projections for them to increase by 23 percent in 2023-24.
Households that were already feeling down took another hit on Tuesday after interest rates were hiked for a 10th straight month.
Karen uses ice cubes and cold flannels she keeps in her freezer to cool herself while her son Connor is constantly under a portable fan and sleeping on cool tiles
The Reserve Bank of Australia raised cash rates to 3.6 percent, with rates now rising at their most dramatic pace since 1988 and 1989.
Pradeep Philip, head of economics at Deloitte Access Economics, said the latest rate hike threatened to trigger a recession and affect the cost of day-to-day spending.
“It puts even more pressure on Australians on the cost of living while increasing the likelihood of an unnecessary recession,” he said.
More welcome news: Up to 4.7 million people on benefits will receive two major increases to their Centrelink benefits this month.
The increase is part of Centrelink’s biennial indexing – a way of adjusting Social Security benefits based on the rate of inflation – on March 20 and September 20.
Anyone retiring, looking for work or studying will receive a 3.7 percent increase on their benefit in two weeks.
Pension and benefits
Pensions and allowances will go up on March 20 as part of the biennial indexation.
- Single and disability pension recipients and caregivers receive an additional $37.50, bringing the biweekly rate to $1,064.
- Couples get an additional $56.40, increasing the two-week payment to $1,604.
- JobSeeker and ABSTUDY payments are increased by $24.70, making the biweekly payment $701.90 for single recipients over the age of 22 with no children.
- Parental benefits increase $33.90 to $967.90 every two weeks for single parents.
- Commonwealth Rent Assistance is increased by $5.60 for singles, making the biweekly payment $157.20.
- Recipients with two children receive an additional $6.58 and receive $184.94 every two weeks.
- Families with three or more children get an additional $7.42, bringing the two-week payment to $208.74.