For the second year in a row, our Cost of Living Report is able to demonstrate what is possible when people are provided enough income so they can not only meet their basic needs, but potentially be in a position where they are able to thrive.
Not everyone, however, received these much needed supports. People relying on payments like the Disability Support Pension were excluded from receiving the Coronavirus Supplement, for example, while many temporary migrants were provided with little to no support.
Now we are in a situation where those supports are no longer available for anyone, with many not only back to the position they were in before the pandemic began, but now facing new challenges and levels of hardship.
Though Western Australia’s state economy is in a globally enviable position, performing more strongly now on many metrics than it had prior to the onset of the pandemic, the benefits of this strong economy are not shared equally, and many in the community face significant hardship despite the state’s wealth.
This report also reveals the staggering costs facing many in our community now that much of that COVID–related support has been removed. The runaway rental prices being faced by households
since the end of the moratoria are a manifestation of the failure of a housing system that is geared to meet the interests of private investors and speculation rather than to provide roofs over people’s heads. High rental returns in turn fuel the concentration of property in the hands of investors, pushing up the cost of owning a home, which both limits discretionary spending within the domestic economy and exposes it to the vagaries of the boom–and–bust cycle of property speculation.