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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 October 2021) . . Page.. 2808 ..

It’s okay, I will just not turn my heating on for a few nights per week and sit here freezing to death, or maybe just miss a few meals each week so I can afford my energy bills.

And another:

While most other states are enjoying decreases in the cost of electricity, we are to suffer an average increase of $200, with the cost to businesses to increase by an average of $1000 per annum. The cost of living in the ACT is becoming prohibitive. It’s basically going to push me away to New South Wales.

Canberra has the unenviable title of being the most expensive city in Australia to rent. ACTCOSS’s analysis of consumer price index data showed Canberra rent costs rose by 10.1 per cent in five years whilst rent costs rose by one per cent nationally. This time last year we were discussing the fact that the ACT was the only state or territory across the nation where rental affordability declined—another unenviable title that Canberra holds.

Anglicare’s annual rental affordability snapshot of April 2021 found that, of 1,085 advertised rentals in Canberra and Queanbeyan on a random weekend, just five properties met the criteria for a family receiving JobSeeker payments; four properties for a single parent with two children receiving parenting payments; seven properties were affordable for a single person on a disability support pension; and zero affordable properties for a single person receiving youth allowance, including a share house.

Canberra’s median house price is now the highest in our history, cracking the $1 million mark in July this year. One of my constituents in Griffith wrote to me, saying:

I am a lifelong Canberran who would love to buy a home and start a family here. What is this government going to do to make sure people of my generation stand a chance at the kind of life that previous generations of Canberrans have enjoyed?

We know that there are members of our community who are more at risk of poverty: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans; people from culturally or linguistically diverse backgrounds; people with a disability; older people over 65; women; people experiencing unemployment; Canberrans on income support; people who rent their homes; single parents, particularly single female parents; and low paid workers or people in part-time work.

As I stated in this chamber earlier in the year when I called on this government to establish the poverty task force, much of what I have talked about this afternoon has been known for decades. There has been a steady increase in the number of people experiencing poverty and disadvantage in the two decades under this ACT Labor-Greens government.

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