A once off, lump sum cost-of-living cash injection and increases to income support payments this week will help, but it won’t go far enough to help South Australians living below the poverty line.
UnitingSA CEO Jenny Hall said a State Government budget commitment that would see 192,000 South Australians receive up to $449 in cash was only a short-term remedy to struggling household budgets – particularly those hardest hit by the latest interest rate rise.
“Long-term measures are needed to help South Australians with the soaring cost of living. Even those on reliable incomes are struggling to make ends meet. People are finding they just can’t afford to rent a home, feed the family, or pay the utilities.
“This cycle is relentless. These are ongoing and never ending costs, and they just seem to be getting higher and higher, by the day. Although anyone living below the poverty line will be grateful for this cash injection, it’s likely to disappear as soon as it’s received, just to make ends meet.”
South Australians eligible for Centrelink income support payments will also receive some welcome relief in the form of the Federal Government Consumer Price Index increase this week.
But while the increase is the largest indexation in nearly 30 years, it will only lift some payments by as little as $23.40 per fortnight – or $1.80 per day – for those on payments like JobSeeker, Parenting Payment, ABSTUDY and Rent Assistance.
“This means Job Seeker is now at just $48 per day. I think if you work that out you’ll soon realise that it’s very difficult to pay the rent, food and utilities, let alone put petrol in the car.
“There are South Australians who are battling to afford to even apply for a job, because they can’t afford to run a car, and they can’t afford public transport to get them there without missing a meal to afford it.
“An increase of $1.80 per day won’t even buy a loaf of bread or milk– and for couples or those with families there are even more mouths to feed.
“We understand that government budgets are strained following record Covid-19 spending, but that’s little solace to those who are going hungry.”