The Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) has launched the Make Queensland Fair campaign, aimed at addressing the state’s shocking cost of living crisis.

QCOSS CEO Aimee McVeigh said too many Queenslanders are struggling to afford the basics.

“With every rent increase, price jump at the bowser, or extreme weather event, the social service  sector is seeing more and more working Queenslanders, who have never needed help before,” McVeigh said.

The Make Queensland Fair campaign launch coincides with the release of QCOSS’ annual Living Affordability in Queensland Report, which looks at whether low-income Queensland families can afford a basic cost of living.

“Every family in the report is paying more than 30% of their weekly expenditure in rent, and in some cases up to 40%, meaning they’re among the 300,000 Queenslanders with an unmet housing need,” McVeigh said.

The report shows South-East Queensland has become ground zero for Australia’s cost of living crisis, with regional Queensland also bearing the brunt through a continued decline in rental affordability.

Jarringly, the cost-of-living crisis exposed in QCOSS’ Living Affordability Report comes at a time when Queensland’s economy is booming.

“Last year, the Queensland Government delivered a $14 billion-dollar surplus, a record for any State or territory, ever.

“This presents the Queensland Government with a golden opportunity to balance the books and give all Queenslanders a fair share,” McVeigh said.

“There is enough money in Queensland for every one of us to have a home, fresh food, medicine, a way to get to work, and to pay our bills. But, as our state gets richer, too many Queenslanders can’t afford the basics,” McVeigh said.

The Make Queensland Fair campaign is calling for immediate government intervention.

“While the State Government cannot always stop prices increasing, they can provide more assistance via energy bill relief, boosting food relief support, and putting a brake on rent increases.

“They can also accelerate housing supply over the medium and longer-term, invest in frontline services, increase the provision of financial counselling, and provide further support to families and children.

“This election year, there’s one issue Queenslanders will be focused on–which leader has the courage to Make Queensland Fair,” McVeigh said.

Queensland social service sector organisations QCOSS, 54 Reasons, Relationships Australia, St Vincent de Paul Society, Anglicare SQ, Anglicare NQ, Anglicare CQ, Meals on Wheels, Act for Kids, ATSILS, Volunteering Queensland, Carinity, and YMCA are leading the Make Queensland Fair campaign.

The Living Affordability in Queensland Report is part of an annual study undertaken by QCOSS, in collaboration with its member organisations, which models the expenditure and income of sample low-income households. It was informed by QCOSS’ bi-annual cost of living survey and household budget modelling conducted by University of Queensland School of Public Health, Etrog Consulting, and QCOSS.

Photo supplied by QCOSS