HIGH COST OF ‘BA­SICS’

The Sunday Times - - NEWS -

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.

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