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The report says one-off increases in 2021 and 2023 have not given welfare recipients a reprieve (Bigstock)

Australians on income support are “structurally unable to afford the basics of life” and are unable to absorb any more cost of living increases, according to a new report. Source: The Guardian.

The average JobSeeker recipient has a shortfall of $135 a week on just the basic weekly cost of food, housing and transport, and no ability to budget for lump-sum payments such as utilities, household goods or emergency expenses, Anglicare’s most recent cost-of-living index has found.

The report, released today, drew on household survey data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics to determine the weekly average cost of rent, transport and food, before comparing those to income support payments, including Commonwealth rent assistance.

Whatever remained would need to cover utilities, telecommunications, insurance and household goods – costs that may come monthly or quarterly – and any emergency expenses.

But in many scenarios, there was nothing left over for those utilities and other necessities, and in some scenarios even weekly costs could not be met.

A single parent receiving the parenting payment would have just $24 remaining a week after covering weekly costs, the report found.

A household with two JobSeeker recipients and two children would be down $17 a week on basic costs, making it likely they would be living in unsuitable accommodation or cutting back on necessities such as food.

It is impossible to live alone on the JobSeeker payment, the report found, with basic weekly costs exceeding income by $135 a week.

The biggest cost for all modelled scenarios was rent, with average rents going from $410 per week in January 2020 to $624 at the time of writing the report.

Because JobSeeker and other working-age welfare payments are benchmarked against the consumer price index, rather than the poverty line or another measure that captures living standards, the one-off increases in 2021 and 2023 have not given welfare recipients a reprieve, the report argued.


Average JobSeeker has $135 weekly shortfall on basic costs, report finds (By Stephanie Convery, The Guardian)


Coming up $135 short a week — the Australians struggling to survive (SBS News)