Territory Stories

Cost of living report



Cost of living report


Northern Territory Council of Social Services Incorporated report; Reports; PublicationNT




Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).


Tracking changes in the cost of living, particularly for vulnerable and disadvantaged Northern Territorians: The Cost of Health in the Territory




Northern Territory Council of Social Service -- Periodicals; Public welfare -- Northern Territory -- Periodicals; Social service -- Northern Territory -- Periodicals; Non-governmental organizations -- Northern Territory -- Periodicals

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Northern Territory Council of Social Service Incorporated

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Issue no. 4

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2 Table 1: Cost of Living Changes March Qtr 2014 by expenditure type Darwin vs National Cost of Living Area Darwin CPI March 2014 Qtr change % National CPI March 2014 Qtr change % Darwin CPI March 2013- March 2014 change % National CPI March 2013 - March 2014 change % Food (& non-alcoholic beverages) 0.4 0.3 2.2 2.2 Clothing and footwear -0.2 -2.1 -0.2 0.5 Housing (includes utilities) 1.2 0.6 4.4 3.6 Rent 0.8 0.7 6.3 2.9 New Dwelling Purchase owner/occupiers 0.1 0.1 2.3 2.4 Health 2.2 2.6 6.1 4.0 Medical products, appliances and equipment* 3.3 5.4 1.2 1.1 Medical, dental and hospital services 1.8 1.8 7.9 4.9 Transport 0.7 1.1 2.3 2.5 Automotive fuel 2.5 4.1 6.6 7.4 Utilities 5.3 1.4 6.6 6.8 CPI All Groups 0.8 0.6 3.6 2.9 Source: ABS, 2014d Tables 12 & 13. *includes pharmaceutical products Incomes: Given that welfare recipients have very low incomes, it is unlikely that any significant amount of the weekly benefit can be saved, at least for those not able to supplement their government transfer payments with additional income. For someone on the base level of benefits, and assuming they spend all their income, NTCOSS has calculated the dollar value of changes in cost of living over the past year, as shown in Table 2. Table 2: Cost of Living Change March Qtr 2013 March Qtr 2014 Australia Base Rate Benefit per week $ (19 March 2013) Base Rate Benefit per week $ (19 March 2014) Selected Living Cost Index change % Amount per week increase in cost of living $ Amount per week increase in base payment rates $ Aged Pensioner $386.30 $413.55 3.0% $11.59 $27.25 Newstart single no children $246.30 $254.75 3.1% $7.64 $8.45 Newstart single 2 children & FTB A & B $511.99 $524.85 3.1% $15.87 $12.86 Newstart Single 2 children figures based on one child under 13 and one b/w 13-19.Sources: Centrelink, 2013 & 2014; ABS 2014a. For simplicity, supplements & Rent Assistance not included in Table 2, as these can vary from person to person. For those whose only source of income is a base-rate government benefit and who spend all their income, the cost of living over the last year increased by $11.59 a week for pensioners, while the base rate pension rose by $27.25 per week, in the same period. For single people on Newstart, the cost of living rose by $7.64 per week, and the base Newstart rate rose by $8.45 per week, marginally ahead of the increase in living costs. However, for sole parents with 2 children, receiving Newstart and FTB (A & B), the cost of living rose by $15.87 a week, however their payment rate only rose by $12.86 per week (Centrelink 2013 and 2014). These figures are not typical and should be treated with caution, as the 2014 figures include the Household Assistance Package, introduced to compensate for the impact of the carbon price, which were not in place 12 months prior. * The payment gap between the Age Pension and Newstart in this report is considerably higher than that noted in the three previous reports, due to the inclusion of the Pension Supplement payment in calculations (as at 19 March 2014) These figures underline the importance of these base payments, but it is likely that with the low base payment and inadequate indexing that Newstart and other base level benefit payments will continue to lag behind pensions (currently $158 lower p/w*), unless the Federal Government commit to increase Newstart and other base level payments by $50 p/w.

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