Low-income families ‘left behind’ by price hikes


Despite Australia’s jobless rate falling to a new 13-year low, cost-of-living increases continue to place enormous pressure on low-income and disadvantaged families, says Catholic Social Services Australia.

CSSA executive director Monique Earsman said while the fall in the unemployment rate is clearly welcome, people on low incomes and those living on or below the poverty line are not seeing any real benefits.

“According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2021 consumer prices rose 3.5 per cent while wages increased by just 2.3 per cent,” Ms Earsman said.

“We are now very much in a situation where Australia’s soaring cost of living is outstripping wage increases or benefits and those at the bottom end of the economy are the ones feeling the pressure the most.

“The weak growth in wages is, in part, the result of the increased casualisation of work, which has given employers the upper hand when bargaining with workers.

“And the problem is felt hardest in low wage jobs and across the gig economy,” Ms Earsman said.

According to the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the gap between cost-of-living increases and wage growth has left workers on average incomes more than $800 worse off in 2021.

Ms Earsman said that as the federal Government prepares for the release of its budget at the end of the month, it must consider the devastating impact the surging cost of living has on low-income families, the unemployed and marginalised.


Low-income and disadvantaged families being left behind as cost of living surges (CSSA) 

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