Aussie kids are missing out in the cost of living crisis
A joint media release with
Senator the Hon Sarah Henderson
Shadow Minister for Education
1 February 2024
Aussie kids are missing out as Labor’s cost-of-living crisis takes its toll on family budgets.
The Senate Select Committee on the Cost of Living, held today in Brisbane, has underlined the profound pressures on families and the charitable organisations grappling to help them.
Les Twentyman Foundation chief executive, Paul Burke, said he was seeing more working families on multiple incomes seeking help.
He said requests for support to assist with stationery, textbooks, laptops and other supplies was “going through the roof” - with almost a 50 per cent increase in demand this year.
Representatives from the Brotherhood of St Laurence told the committee getting energy bills down was key to relieving pressure on families.
The committee also heard how some agencies were grappling with homelessness issues with their own staff and in some regions up to 60 per cent of families were regularly running out of food.
President of the QLD Association of State School Principals, Patrick Murphy, said that school breakfast clubs are seeing a significant increase in demand.
Chair of the Cost of Living Committee, Senator Jane Hume, said Australian families are suffering in this cost of living crisis.
“More working families, some on dual incomes, have been forced to turn to charities for assistance in getting their kids back to school and feeding them once they’re at school.
“Families have been forced to make difficult decisions, like keeping the kids home from school camps, because they have a mountain of living costs they need to cover.
“The only way to deliver cost of living relief for all Australians is to get inflation under control, but unfortunately Labor still has no plan to address inflation,” Senator Hume said.
Senator Henderson said the evidence underlined just how serious the situation has become.
“The LesTwentyman Foundation has seen an almost 50 per cent increase in demand for its Back to School program, with no funding support from the Albanese Government,” Senator Henderson said.
“One mother was so desperate she sold her wedding ring to pay for her child’s school lunches.
“So many families, even those on double incomes, are crying out for help with basics such as school books and uniforms. So dire is this cost-of-living crisis that some children are turning to serious crime.
The National Catholic Education Commission’s Jacinta Collins also condemned the Productivity Commission’s recommendation to abolish deductible gift recipient status for non-government schools.
“I again call on the Albanese Government to rule out what is an effective school building tax which will cost the catholic sector $2 billion a year and will be catastrophic for low fee-paying schools,” Senator Henderson said.
Senator Hume and Senator Henderson called on all Australians to share their stories of how the cost of living is impacting them by providing submissions to yourcostofliving.au.