New report shows JobSeeker is too low to cover basic living costs

A new report from Anglicare Australia shows that JobSeeker and other working age payments are far too low to cover basic living costs.

Back to basics: The unequal impacts of inflation on Australian households finds that:

  • Housing costs have gone up by 22%
  • Food and groceries have gone up by 17%
  • Electricity costs have gone up by 17%
  • Transport costs have gone up by 11%
  • Even though essential costs are growing much faster than inflation, most Centrelink payments are only raised by CPI. This means that payments are not covering basic living costs.

Executive Director Kasy Chambers said that people on lower incomes are paying a highest price for rising living costs.

“Our research shows that it costs more to be poor.

“For decades, people on the lowest incomes were already falling short on the cost of basics. But over the last two years, the cost of essentials like rent, food, and utilities has been skyrocketing.

“They’re already spend more of their weekly budgets on essentials. When their incomes fall even further behind living costs, they have no room to move and no other costs to cut out of their budgets. That punishes people who are already earning less.

“Some people find themselves in debt spirals trying to juggle all of their costs. Others forego basic essentials by skipping meals, missing medical appointments, and avoiding getting insurance – only to pay for it down the track.

“These numbers show us that Australians doing it tough need real action, and real leadership. That means raising the rate of Centrelink payments, making the minimum wage a living wage, and creating cheaper insurance and energy options for people who need them.

“People on low incomes did not create Australia’s cost-of-living crisis. They shouldn’t be asked to pay a higher price for it. We need a plan to stop the lowest paid Australians from being pushed deeper into poverty.”