A new study has revealed the rising cost of expenses and utilities is a major reason Sydney has the highest poverty rate of any Australian capital city.
According to the annual Cost of Living report, basic utilities such as medical, housing and electricity had risen profoundly within the last 10 years, with costs for electricity alone increasing 130 per cent since 2010.
The most alarming findings included children living in families affected by poverty, claiming that 181,000, or one in seven NSW children, are currently living just on or below the poverty line.
Major Neil Dickson from the Salvation Army said the rising cost of living expenses is having major economic consequences for people’s livelihood.
“When half your income is spent on rent and the remainder on bills, food and transport, it almost becomes impossible to save money,” he told The Newsroom.
“The longer people are trapped in poverty, the harder it is for them to escape.”
Mr Dickson also said that even though one-third of Australia’s total taxation is paid out in welfare, governments at all levels must work together to eradicate the ever-rising risk of being homeless.
“They [the Federal and State governments] all need to work together to address the rising levels of inequality in this country,” he said.
“Only through a collaborative approach will they be able to address the problems at hand effectively.”
The report, conducted by the Council of Social Service NSW (NCOSS) also posted concerning statistics for single parents, with 54 percent saying they owed more money than they could afford.
These findings form a foundation for arguments against the recent proposals to increase the GST to 15 per cent and spread to include all goods and services, according to NCOSS deputy chief executive John Mikelsons.
“The first thing that can come out of this report is that the proposals on the table to increase the GST and apply it to food can be scrapped,” Mr Mikelsons told the ABC yesterday.
The report also found that 58 percent of low to middle-income families were currently experiencing housing stress, and many said they were “very concerned” about not being able to meet basic requirements for current healthcare, dental, education and household grocery costs. – Benjamin Potter
Top photo from Alex Proimo’s Flickr Photostream.