New year adds to hip pocket pain
IT IS costing more to live.
And the community’s least fortunate will feel it the most but in-turn so will the organisations helping them.
Once the clock ticked over to 2017, as most of us were celebrating the coming of a new year, the cost of living skyrocketed.
Everything from the cost of public transport to council rates to water and electricity bills has increased and local organisations are under the pump.
The Salvation Army Rochester has seen an increase in demand for the past six months.
‘‘We have seen nearly a 40 per cent increase in the number of individuals seeking our service,’’ Lieutenant Ben Clapton said.
‘‘Although our funding levels haven’t been increasing.
‘‘So further increases will put a lot of strain on our services, but more so on the people we are giving services to as they won’t be getting as much support as we would like to give them.
‘‘We would love there to be a never ending pot but unfortunately there just isn’t.’’
There’s no doubt the price of electricity bills will be the toughest hike for the Salvation Army.
‘‘We get a lot of people already seeking assistance with their high electricity bills, I’m not sure how we will go once the price hike really kicks in,’’ Lt Clapton said.
‘‘We also have people just needing assistance with food, really struggling just to survive.
‘‘There have also been increases in people needing help with their gas and water bill — but nowhere near like electricity.’’
A breakdown of the price rise compiled by the Victorian Council of Social Services shows most public transport fares increased by 3.9 per cent while electricity costs jumped 8.4 per cent.
Despite being 10 days into the new year, Lt Clapton believes the impact of the rise won’t be seen for a few months.
‘‘It is difficult to predict when the hikes will impact the most, but we will see it come into effect pretty soon,’’ he said.