Road sign that reads 'Energy Bills' beneath arrow pointing up

KPMG's Census Insights explore the shifting trends in Australia's lifestyle habits by analysing the data provided in the 2016 National Census. In this first report, demographer Bernard Salt and KPMG Partner Cassandra Hogan explore the rise of energy poverty, which continues to be driven by the rising cost of energy supply.

In September a new dataset was released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics that provides real insight into the operation of Australian households. Based on a survey of 10,000 households the Household Expenditure Survey (HES) tracks money flows into and out of households over the 2016 financial year. This dataset continues a methodology that goes back 30 years. As a result it is now possible to compare how Australians spent their income at different times in history. Is the cost of living rising or do we expect get more out of the income we do earn?

This question could be applied to cost of housing or to the cost of raising a family. In this paper, the authors look at the cost of energy and specifically at spending on domestic fuel and power. Who is most affected by rising energy costs and what is the quantum of this group within Australian society? And, perhaps even more importantly, what can be done to ameliorate the rise of what might be termed energy poverty?

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