Food and Housing Costs Cause Concern for Vulnerable Australians
New reports have revealed that food and housing are the main worries for vulnerable Australians as Christmas approaches. Peak welfare groups in Western Australia and Tasmania have analyzed the situation and found that rising interest rates, soaring rents, and increasing grocery bills are forcing more households to seek help.
Tasmanian Council of Social Service
Adrienne Picone, the CEO of the Tasmanian Council of Social Service, stated that an increasing number of Tasmanians are seeking food relief, putting pressure on community service organizations. In the past year alone, 84,000 Tasmanian households have struggled to have enough food, which is an increase of 18,000 from last year. Many vulnerable Tasmanians are skipping meals, buying cheap but poor-quality food, and relying on emergency food relief.
Ms. Picone emphasized that in a country where there is an abundance of food, it is unacceptable for families to go without meals or essential services just to put food on the table. The Tasmanian council is calling on the state government to increase funding for emergency food relief providers and the school food program, raise awareness about the issue, and collaborate more closely with community groups.
WA Council of Social Service
Louise Giolitto, the CEO of the WA Council of Social Service, highlighted the housing crisis and the rising cost of living as major challenges for vulnerable people in Western Australia. Wages are not keeping up with the cost of living, and income support is insufficient to cover basic expenses. Real wages have decreased over the past year, leaving single and two-parent families, unemployed individuals, and age-pensioners struggling to afford rent and meet their basic needs.
Many community services have reported that the lack of safe and secure housing is the biggest threat to West Australians. Landlords have been increasing rents to unsustainable levels, causing many clients to fall behind on payments. As a result, more households are seeking support, and the demand for emergency relief funds is rapidly growing.
Ms. Giolitto emphasized the need for government intervention to provide support and ensure fair outcomes for all Australians. She called for an increase in the rate of JobSeeker and other federal income support payments, such as rent assistance, to help unemployed individuals meet the community’s standard of living.
The WA report includes 13 recommendations, including stabilizing rent prices and increasing funding for emergency relief and financial counseling. WA COSS also urged the state and federal government to provide more concessions and subsidies for public transport and essential services.