"Under Pressure" - VCOSS Report on Emergency Relief in Victoria
20 July 2009 at 4:01 pm
A new report by VCOSS highlights that the combination of inadequate income, high costs of living and the absence of financial resources such as insurance, savings or assets create demand for emergency relief in Victoria.
The report called "Under Pressure – Cost of living, financial hardship and emergency relief in Victoria", details the experiences of over 2,000 emergency relief recipients in Victoria in 2007-08 and provides evidence of the causes of demand for emergency relief by people in poverty and financial hardship.
The report says that three key structural reforms are required to reduce demand for emergency relief assistance. The first is to increase social security payments relative to the costs of living – that nearly all of the people surveyed in this research were in receipt of social security payments clearly indicates that the social security system does not provide for an adequate standard of living.
Secondly, it says action by governments to ensure that essential goods and services such as housing, utilities, food, transport, health care and education are affordable is needed to reduce demand for emergency relief.
VCOSS says these goods and services are universally regarded as necessary for an adequate standard of living – their costs were those most commonly identified in this research as causing financial hardship.
Finally, it says facilitating access to affordable financial products and services, including savings schemes, insurance, financial planning and financial counselling, is required to assist people at risk of financial hardship to plan for and cope with a financial crisis, and will in turn, reduce the demand for emergency relief.
The full report can be downloaded at: www.vcoss.org.au