An ab­so­lute cheap state - ex­cept for power bills


The Advertiser - - NEWS - MILES KEMP

ADE­LAIDE house­hold­ers are pay­ing more than any other cap­i­tal ex­cept for Dar­win for gas and elec­tric­ity, fork­ing out an aver­age $47 a week to elec­tric­ity and gas com­pa­nies.

Only Dar­win house­hold­ers ($49) are pay­ing more to power their homes, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est Aus­tralian Bureau of Sta­tis­tics sur­vey fig­ures, com­pared to the best-off cap­i­tal Bris­bane, where res­i­dents pay the low­est weekly costs of $35.

Unit­ingCom­mu­ni­ties util­ity bill ex­pert Mark Hen­ley said it was un­usual for South Aus­tralians to be bur­dened with higher prices when the cost of liv­ing in the state was very low com­pared to other cap­i­tals.

He said if not for power prices Ade­laide was a com­par­a­tively cheap cap­i­tal to live in.

In Ade­laide, a house­hold on aver­age spends $1276 on liv­ing ex­penses com­pared to the high­est, Syd­ney, on $1710.

“I think our main mes­sage re­mains that such high prices do not have to be in place,’’ Mr Hen­ley said.

“We need pre­dictable na- tional pol­icy and lower in­come peo­ple, in par­tic­u­lar need help with con­ces­sions and more en­ergy ef­fi­cient hous­ing.’’

The ABS sur­veyed house­holds in ev­ery state and ter­ri­tory to re­port on “house­hold ex­pen­di­ture” for 2015/16, the first time it has done so since 2009/2010. HOUS­ING UTIL­I­TIES FOOD AL­CO­HOL TOBACCO CLOTH­ING HEALTH CARE TRANS­PORT RE­CRE­ATION ED­U­CA­TION PER­SONAL CARE

In 2015/16, Ade­laide ranked first in the coun­try with the cheap­est food and non-al­co­holic drinks, al­co­holic drinks, fur­nish­ings and equip­ment, house­hold ser­vices and op­er­a­tion, and trans­port.

The city was a close sec­ond to Ho­bart with the sec­ond cheap­est costs for com­mu­nica- tions, med­i­cal care, and cloth­ing. ABS Chief Econ­o­mist, Bruce Hock­man said the re­port was not an an­nual re­lease by the or­gan­i­sa­tion, but there were marked dif­fer­ences with the 2015/16 sur­vey.

“In the six years since the last sur­vey, the big­gest in­creases in spend­ing on goods and ser­vices by Aus­tralian house­holds have been in ed­u­ca­tion; up by 44 per cent, house­hold ser­vices and op­er­a­tion, in­clud­ing child care ser­vices; up by 30 per cent, en­ergy and health care; both up by 26 per cent,” he said.

“We’re see­ing in­creased spend­ing for fam­i­lies with chil­dren in many ar­eas.

“The hike in ed­u­ca­tion spend­ing mainly came from spend­ing on school fees, which rose by al­most half from 2009-10 to 2015-16. Child­care spend­ing also rose con­sid­er­ably, al­most dou­bling over that six year pe­riod.”

Mr Hock­man said the in­crease in pow­er­ing the home was marked in some cap­i­tals: “When it comes to en­ergy, house­holds in some ci­ties were spend­ing a lot more in 2015-16 to keep the lights on than in 2009-10.”

Perth and Ade­laide saw the largest per­cent­age in­creases in aver­age elec­tric­ity spend­ing, at 37 per cent and 30 per cent re­spec­tively. Ho­bart and Can­berra were the only cap­i­tal ci­ties where spend­ing on elec­tric­ity re­mained sta­ble over the six years.

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