NTCOSS Cost of Living Report – No. 17

NTCOSS Report highlights rises to critical household expenditure areas and impact of federal government’s proposed removal of energy supplement

The 17th Cost of Living Report released today by the Northern Territory Council of Social Service (NTCOSS) provides a general CPI update and highlights areas of financial pressure that many NT families continue to face. 

The Report reveals that petrol costs (+11.4%), vegetable (+10.2%) and fruit (4.8%) prices, and medical and hospital costs (+5.3%) have all risen over the past year.  There has been a slight increase in the generic CPI for Darwin (+0.5%), in contrast to the increase in the national CPI (+1.9%) over the past year.

It is a concern that prices in many critical expenditure areas have risen so far above the rate of the generic CPI figure for Darwin as well as the national figure….

Jonathan Pilbrow, NTCOSS Policy Advisor said,
“A low generic CPI for Darwin doesn’t necessarily lead to low prices for all of the goods and services that households require – it simply reflects that there have been price rises in some areas and decreases in other

“In addition, the challenge to address high food and fuel prices in remote areas still remains – yet this is not reflected in Darwin CPI figures.

“While we have seen decreases in some categories in the past year such as rent prices (down 7.2%) and telecommunications equipment and services (down 3.9%), high general costs in other critical expenditure areas continue to place great strain on lower income households across the NT. These items represent a greater proportion of weekly income for these households”.

The NTCOSS Report also reveals the potential impacts of the federal government’s proposed removal of the energy supplements, effective from 20 September if passed by parliament.

Mr Pilbrow said,
“If these cuts are implemented we will see single aged pensions drop by $7.00 per week (or $367 per year) worse off, while pensioner couples will be nearly $550 per year worse off

“If the energy supplement is removed, the federal government will essentially be abolishing the first increase to Newstart in two decades, and doing so at a time when the fundamental inadequacy of the Newstart allowance continues to be exposed”

NTCOSS, along with the Councils of Social Service across Australia, continues to call on the Federal Government to raise the Newstart rate by at least $50 per week.  This rise would work towards easing cost of living pressures on many people.
For media comment/more information:

Jonathan Pilbrow, NTCOSS Policy Adviser 0403 611 815