New NTCOSS Report Reveals Staggering Cost of Living Pressures on Territorians

A new report shows Territorians are struggling under some of the most significant Consumer Price Index (CPI) rises in the nation.

NTCOSS CEO Deborah Di Natale said the Northern Territory Council of Social Service’s 31st Cost of Living Report shows a CPI rise of 6% in the 12 months from December 2020 to 21, well above the national average of 3.5%.

“Territorians are doing it tough,” Deborah Di Natale said.

“The CPI increases we are seeing here are far higher than the national averages. We need the Commonwealth and NT Governments to recognise these increases for critical services like health, childcare and education, and for living costs such as housing, transport and food.”

“The CPI for Darwin rents rose 8% compared to 0.4% nationally. That has an impact in the NT where about half of us are renters and the social housing waitlists are up to eight years long,” she said.

The data from December 2020 – December 2021, reveals Darwin had the highest increase in price movement for goods and services, or Consumer Price Index (CPI), out of all Australian capital cities.

Housing, including utilities, increased 15.9% in Darwin, compared to a 4% nationally and automotive fuel went up 41.4% in Darwin compared with 32.3% nationally.

Deborah Di Natale said for people in remote and very remote places in the Territory the increases were even more severe.

“Among our key recommendations is that the next Federal Government increase the social security safety net and index payments twice a year, including Jobseeker and related payments, the Remote Area Allowance, and Commonwealth Rent Assistance,” Deborah Di Natale said.

“We need leadership from the Commonwealth and NT Government on this, with a commitment to investment in aff­ordable housing, including subsidised rental housing and targeted a­ffordable home ownership programs.”

NTCOSS is also calling on the NT Government to:

– expand the NT Concession Scheme with extended concessions for electricity, driver’s licences, prescription glasses and Motor Vehicle Registrations for Commonwealth Health Care Card holders.

– establish a yearly indexation of the Motor Vehicle Registration concession.

– establish Aged Pension/Commonwealth Health Care Card concession rates for users of remote bus services and consistency of bus fare structures across di­fferent services.

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