Inflation pushing necessities out of reach for millions

St Vincent de Paul Society

More than three million Australians living in poverty desperately need additional support to survive as surging inflation puts household necessities out of reach, according to the St Vincent de Paul Society.

Consumer Price Index (CPI) data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveals inflation rose 2.1 per cent in the March quarter, up 5.1 per cent over the past year. As the ABS states, these are the largest quarterly and annual rises since the introduction of the GST.

St Vincent de Paul National President Claire Victory said ballooning household costs come during an election in which the most vulnerable people in the community have largely been forgotten.

‘This neglect was shown by the brutal decision of both major parties to leave JobSeeker at $46 a day, which holds recipients well beneath the poverty line and exposed to rising cost of living pressures.

‘Expecting people to survive on $46 a day is cruel. It demonstrates a lack of understanding, or care, for people doing it tough and the growing challenge of making ends meet as prices for basic goods surge.

‘Whichever party wins government next month will be forced to urgently address this issue unless they want to preside over a ballooning poverty crisis,’ Ms Victory said.

Ms Victory said caution from both parties about increasing the national debt was understandable, which is why the St Vincent de Paul Society had commissioned modelling to demonstrate budget-neutral options available to fund changes that would release Australians from poverty en masse.

‘Our research shows Australia can easily fund a significant boost to JobSeeker, alongside an increase in Commonwealth Rent Assistance, by making simple and affordable changes to our tax and welfare system. The only problem is we lack political leaders with the courage to countenance such a plan,’ Ms Victory said.

‘Our modelling shows you could release over a million Australians from poverty through minor changes to capital gains tax and superannuation tax that would only marginally affect the very highest income-earners. Australia contains both incredible wealth and heartbreaking poverty. Our incapacity to fix one with the other is a failure of politics, not a budgetary restraint,’ Ms Victory said.

The St Vincent de Paul Society’s Federal Election statement includes a suite of practical and compassionate policies to create A Fairer Australia.

/Public Release.