HIGH COST OF ‘BASICS’
WA households are forking out almost $75,000 a year on general living costs and “the basics” are increasingly devouring budgets.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ 2015-16 Household Expenditure Survey reveals $850 of the average $1430 West Australians spend every week on goods and services goes on the essentials of housing, food, electricity and gas, healthcare and transport.
The snapshot of our spending habits shows the average household forks out 20 per cent of its spending budget, or $293 a week, on housing costs followed by 17 per cent, or $237 a week, on food and non-alcoholic drinks — leaving less room for discretionary purchases.
Transport is the next biggest impost, accounting for 13 per cent, or $182 a week, of the weekly outlay.
“Spending on basics accounted for 56 per cent of weekly household spending in 1984, growing to 59 per cent in 2015-16,” ABS chief economist Bruce Hockman said.
WA Council of Social Services chief executive Louise Giolitto said “practically 100 per cent” of a lower income household’s budget was being spent “on just getting by without any of life’s little luxuries”.
Ms Giolitto said some people were unable to afford extracurricular and sporting activities for their children, fresh food, mobile phones, and in some cases were forced to make a decision between keeping the power on or paying rent.
She said average-income households were even starting to think twice about activities like going to the movies or the Perth Royal Show.
“Before they were stock-standard things they did every week or year, but they’re now seeing them more of an absolute luxury,” Ms Giolitto said.