Street sign with arrow pointing upwards and word 'Energy Bills'

NCOSS's latest Cost of Living report shows the sobering lengths vulnerable NSW residents are going to in order to pay their energy bills. The survey of 440 people living below the poverty line found that 36% of respondents were sometimes forced to go without dental treatment, 25% without medical treatment and 9% without a substantial meal on a regular basis.

6.5% of respondents’ children had been forced to miss a substantial meal as a result of energy bills.

NCOSS CEO Tracy Howe says the impact of energy prices is not only financial; it can have serious consequences in terms of health, mental health and the broader opportunities available to individuals and families.

“We spoke to some of the most vulnerable people and families in our community, who are living below the poverty line, to hear from them directly and what we heard was shocking.

“The rising cost of electricity affects almost everyone, but it has a much greater impact on people on very low incomes, as it makes up a much larger proportion of their weekly expenditure.”

Over 45% of survey respondents said policy efforts for affordable essential services should be the NSW Government's highest priority.

“We acknowledge that Government and retailers do offer a range of supports to low-income households. But the picture we see is that this assistance is not always working well for those who need it most. Supports are poorly understood, not well accessed, and often undermined by a lack of coordination,” said Ms Howe.

“Retailers need to do better to ensure that vulnerable people are on better deals, so that their bills are as low as possible, and that government supports provide the most possible benefit to them.”

Read more online

pdfDownload the full report

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