Tue May 24: A report released today recommends a review of the concessions system in Queensland for people on low incomes. The QCOSS Cost of Living Report: ensuring a basic standard of living for low income Queenslanders is the first in an ongoing series of reports from the Queensland Council Of Social Services.

The QCOSS Cost of Living Report reveals Queenslanders on low income face tough choices when trying to make ends meet.

“The report reveals the hard decisions low income households face each week,” says QCOSS President Karyn Walsh. “This often means the choice between putting food on the table or paying essential bills.

“People on low incomes regularly have to go without services and other essentials that many Australians believe everyone should have. A basic standard of living is simply unreachable for many Queenslanders.

“This report shows the costs of the essentials in life are rising fast. And using the most conservative costs for three sample households means they still cannot make ends meet,” says Karyn.

The report has four key recommendations for the state government to help low income households survive and meet rising costs in the future.

“A review of concessions for people on low income in Queensland is needed,” says QCOSS Director Jill Lang. “The review needs to examine if greater support is needed in areas such as transport, electricity and water. The report is also calling for an annual review of concessions to ensure they are being used by those who need them most.

“QCOSS also recommends that a Minister or Parliamentary Secretary be given the responsibility for addressing cost of living issues. As well as concessions, their portfolio should look at policy and strategic issues to build community and help people respond to cost of living pressures.

“This commitment at a senior level of government is crucial as part of a coordinated government approach to ensure low income households can afford a basic standard of living,” says Jill.

The QCOSS Cost of Living Report looks at the cost of a basic standard of living for three hypothetical low-income households. The report will be updated every six months.

It is available at www.qcoss.org.au