Getting through Christmas cost of living crunch

SA Gov

With Christmas weeks away and cost of living pressures continuing to bite, its timely to remind South Australians the State Government funds a range of services designed to help those having a hard time making ends meet.

Minister for Human Services Nat Cook says these services can help people with budget planning and debt negotiation, provide financial counselling and emergency financial assistance, offer no-interest loans and food relief, and provide a range of concessions.

The government’s Cost of Living Concession (COLC) has already been paid to more than 212,507 households for the 2023-24 financial year totalling $42.7 million – and it’s not too late to apply. People can receive one-off payments of up to $243.90 in support and applications for this financial year can be submitted up to December 31.

For people needing help with concessions’ eligibility criteria, the Department of Human Services has information on concessions and other support available on its website at

This website includes links to another useful resource, the Affordable SA website, app and phone line which hosts advice and places people can go to for help in 15 different categories including food relief.

Affordable SA, run by the Salvation Army, can be visited online at – Affordable SA or phone 1800 025 539.

In a move to help more financially insecure South Australians, the State Government launched its Financial Wellbeing and Resilience Program across all metropolitan and all regional areas in August.

The program offers services including financial counselling, debt management and renegotiation, support to access no-interest loans, and emergency financial assistance.

Service providers taking part are: Lutheran Care (Adelaide Hills, Barossa, Light and Lower North), Uniting Communities (Eastern Adelaide), Centacare Catholic Country (Eyre and Western), Uniting Country SA (Far North), Junction Australia (Fleurieu and Kangaroo Island), (Limestone Coast and Murray Mallee), Anglicare SA (Northern Adelaide), Uniting Communities (Southern Adelaide), Uniting Care Wesley Bowden (Western Adelaide), Uniting Country SA (Yorke and Mid North).

More information about the Financial Wellbeing Program is available at and people can also contact their local service provider directly.

Applications are still open until November 23 for grants of up to $50,000 to help community organisations address food insecurity for vulnerable and disadvantaged South Australians. More information is available at

Information is also available at (click on Care and Support Tab, then Concessions and Grants) – and people without access to the internet who would like to investigate if they are eligible for a cost-of-living concession can phone the Concessions team on 1800 307 758.

The government provides a range of concessions and programs to eligible South Australians including:

* Companion Card

* Cost of Living Concession (opens new website)

* Energy bill concession

* Emergency Electricity Payment Scheme

* Emergency Services Levy (fixed property) Remission (opens new website)

* Funeral AssistanceSA

* GlassesSA

* Medical Heating and Cooling Concession

* Personal AlertSA

* Residential park resident concessions (opens new website)

* Transport Concession Card (opens new website)

* Water and sewage rate concessions.

As put by Nat Cook

There’s no doubt 2023 has been tough on many South Australians with the cost of living, inflation and rising interest rates continuing to bite. Add to that, the lead up to Christmas can be an incredibly stressful time with the pressure of buying gifts and extra food, while managing family and friends’ expectations.

The services the government funds for people struggling with affordability issues are free, confidential, and respect the dignity of participants.

I encourage people to reach out for support – there is help available. I truly hope this support provided by my Department and by our partners from the non-government sector might go a small way towards helping more South Australians share in the joy of the festive season this year.

/Public News. View in full here.