A recent report by the Australian Council of Social Service has found more than 80 per cent of people currently receiving the dole are unable to pay for essential dental, medical and accommodation services.

Cassandra Goldie, the chief executive officer of ACOSS, has timed the released the survey (entitled, The Budget Must Not Forget the Unemployed: 83 per cent Don’t Have Enough to Live On) to pressure the Australian Government to fix the welfare safety net.

“The reality is that we’ve allowed holes to develop in this safety net, with vulnerable groups falling through the cracks.

“This report reveals that many people living below the poverty line are being forced to make trade-offs between basic needs – rent or groceries; clothing or medical bills; electricity or transport – and often being forced to go without,” said Dr Goldie to news.com.au

ACOSS is pushing the government to increase welfare payments by $50 a week to alleviate the suffering of many. She also hopes to see a large boost in funding for training, employment, and support programs.

Image of Cassandra Goldie: www.acoss.org.au

Image of Cassandra Goldie: www.acoss.org.au

In essence the report concludes:

Around 20 per cent of Newstart recipients lack sufficient funds for essentials like housing, groceries, or electricity.

More than 40 per cent of people on the minimum award wage admit to living at ‘unsustainable’ levels and complain of debt stress.

25 per cent of Newstart recipients, 33 per cent of those on a Disability Support Pension, have in the last year gone without meals to save money.

“We will be looking to this budget to deliver a better quality of life for people on working age payments, including greater financial assistance and support for those who are unemployed.”

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