Cost of Living Report -Concessions and the Cost of Living
Calls renewed to increase Newstart and extend concessions to all Health Care Card holders in the Northern Territory: NTCOSS report
The 14th Cost of Living Report released by the Northern Territory Council of Social Service (NTCOSS) today highlights that the costs of living are rising highest for those on the lowest incomes, while many low income groups miss out on accessing most of the available concessions.
The NTCOSS report shows that the cost of living nationally over the past five years has risen the highest (9.7%) for people on the lowest incomes (such as Newstart and Youth Allowance), as measured by the ABS’ Selected Living Cost Index.
NTCOSS Policy Advisor Jonathan Pilbrow said,
“Unfortunately under the current system these very low income groups don’t qualify for many of the concessions that are easing cost of living pressures for those eligible households in the Territory
“At the same time, the cost of living for employees has risen by only 6.4%, and 8.8% for pensioners, but both of these groups have experienced far greater income growth over this period”.
The report examines in detail whether various concessions offered by the Northern Territory and Commonwealth Governments are achieving their aim of easing cost of living pressures in areas such as utilities and transport.
Some concessions (such as electricity and water) are comparatively high against other jurisdictions and are indexed regularly in line with price rises. Other concessions (such as motor vehicle registration) have not increased for many years, and their value has been eroded over time.
Mr Pilbrow said,
“Electricity and water concessions reduce cost of living pressures for many pensioner and carers. While some households are paying more in 2016 compared to five years ago, the concessions are still quite substantial and the concession received rises with household usage”
NTCOSS welcomes the opportunity presented by the NT Government review into the Northern Territory Pensioner and Carer Concession Scheme (NTPCCS), which includes concessions for utilities, property rates, spectacles, transport and travel.
Mr Pilbrow continued,
”It is critical that the NTPCCS concessions review addresses the effectiveness and sustainability of the concession scheme overall, as well as considering the need to widen the scheme’s eligibility to include those people most in need”.
NTCOSS also continues to highlight the need for a rise in the rate of Newstart by $50 per week, to ease cost of living pressures for vulnerable Territorians.
View Cost of Living report here