Cost of Living Report December update

cost of living money shot

New NTCOSS Cost of Living report shows Territorians struggling to make ends meet

A new report shows the highest inflation in Australia in more than 30 years is making the cost of housing, fuel and even food unaffordable for many Territorians.

The Northern Territory Council of Social Service’s Cost of Living Report December update indicates that soaring prices means households have less money available for essential items such as food, electricity and clothes.

The NT was the third most expensive jurisdiction to rent a three-bedroom house in fiscal 2022, both by overall price – behind NSW and the ACT – and proportion of average household income required.

Petrol prices across the NT are extremely high and most expensive in remote areas.

Unleaded petrol was an average 239.4 cents/L in Alice Springs in October while the price of diesel has nearly doubled in regional NT (excluding Darwin) from 135.8 cents/L in October 2017 to 263.5 cents/L in October 2022.

Overall transport costs over five years, including car loan payments, registration and licencing, servicing, public transport and roadside assistance are up 27% in Darwin and 34% in Alice Springs, more than double the rate of inflation.

The average cost of a healthy food basket in remote stores in Aboriginal communities has continued to rise and was 52% higher than in a district supermarket last year.

“It is tough out there, many Territorians are not on big incomes and are struggling to make ends meet,” NTCOSS CEO Deborah Di Natale said.

“The NT government is projecting a $40 billion economy and population of 300,000 in 7-8 years.

“If they want to keep families here, have an inclusive Territory and attract new people on low to moderate incomes they must provide incentives or it will be too expensive for key workers in retail, health nursing, hospital and other occupations to live here.”

Ms Di Natale said Territorians in remote places were most severely impacted because they paid far more for food and fuel, travelled greater distances and in towns such as Katherine and Tennant Creek paid more for housing because of supply shortages.

Eight interest rate rises in seven months and the effects of the war in the Ukraine on costs are major contributors.

“We need leadership from the Federal Government to increase the income security safety net, including raising Jobseeker to at least $73 a day to cover the basics and related payments,” Ms Di Natale said.

NTCOSS is also calling on the NT Government to:
• Expand the NT Concession Scheme to include people most in need, including people on JobSeeker and other people eligible for a Centrelink Health Care Card.
• Join campaign calling for increase to JobSeeker rate to at least $73 a day to cover the basics.
• Invest in more social housing in the Northern Territory to address shortfall of 12,000 homes including ensuring 20% of that new supply is for social & affordable housing.

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Click here for the Cost of Living Transport Factsheet
Click here for the Cost of Living Housing Factsheet
Click here for the Cost of Living Food Factsheet