Home Australia The brutal reality of life on Centrelink in Australia: “It has never been so difficult”

The brutal reality of life on Centrelink in Australia: “It has never been so difficult”

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Cost of Living Index Shows Welfare Recipients Barely Have Enough Money to Cover Basic Expenses

Covering the cost of weekly essentials is leaving Australians receiving JobSeeker and other welfare payments with little left over to pay bills or other incidental expenses.

A single person without a job and living in a shared house would have only $127 in income each week after covering three basic weekly expenses: rent, transportation and food.

The latest edition of Anglicare Australia’s cost of living index, released on Thursday, also shows that a single-parent household receiving the Parenting Payment would have just $24 left after covering basic living costs.

Anglicare’s analysis of the index does not take into account quarterly or monthly expenses, meaning any leftover income would be needed to cover energy and internet bills, as well as incidental outlays for repairs and the like.

“It’s never been harder to live on JobSeeker and other Centrelink payments, with living costs spiraling and rent costing more than ever,” Anglicare Australia chief executive Kasy Chambers said.

Cost of Living Index Shows Welfare Recipients Barely Have Enough Money to Cover Basic Expenses

Community and social care groups such as Anglicare have long called for a substantial boost to JobSeeker and Youth Allowance to lift people out of poverty, as has a government advisory committee.

Despite exceptional increases in the base rate of payments in 2021 and 2023, income support for job seekers and some other groups remains low and has left people vulnerable to post-pandemic inflationary pressures.

Food and gasoline prices remain high, and the cost of rent is high and rising as demand for housing outstrips supply and keeps vacancy rates low.

“People are forced to skip meals, avoid medical care and crowd their families into overcrowded homes,” Ms Chambers said.

A single person without a job and living in a shared house would have only $127 in income each week after covering three basic weekly expenses: rent, transportation and food.

A single person without a job and living in a shared house would have only $127 in income each week after covering three basic weekly expenses: rent, transportation and food.

The latest edition of the cost of living index found that a family of four with two unemployed adults in a three-bedroom rental would not be able to cover the basics on their income and would have to find an extra $17 a week.

All calculations included the highest rates of Commonwealth rental assistance, which households may be eligible for and which was increased in the last federal budget.

Ms Chambers said the government must increase the rate of payments.

“If no action is taken, people will be plunged further into hardship, poverty and homelessness.”

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