In September and October last year, TasCOSS embarked on a statewide series of cost of living forums across the Neighbourhood Houses network, listening to Tasmanians living on low and inadequate incomes about their personal experiences, what they’re missing out on, and what could be done to help with cost of living pressures.
What we heard was uncomfortable and harrowing. We heard distressing stories about the changes people have been forced to make and the impact of these changes, not only on individual health and wellbeing, but on the entire community.
The cost of living is biting hard, with households forced to choose between life’s daily essentials, such as housing, food, energy, digital and transport. This remains the reality for thousands of Tasmanians and must not be allowed to become our new normal.
It’s not possible to listen to their stories and hear their experiences and be satisfied that we are doing enough to support Tasmanians on low incomes and address poverty. And while there is no single or quick panacea for this cost of living crisis, there are clear, evidence-informed measures the Tasmanian Government can take now that will make a difference, reduce hardship, support the wellbeing of Tasmanians and lay the foundations for a healthier future.
In Wellbeing First: TasCOSS’s 2023/24 Budget Priorities Statement, we set out six priority areas for action and key recommendations to place wellbeing at the centre of the economy for the medium- and long-term, and for providing immediate relief to Tasmanian households struggling to afford the basics.
The six priority areas are:
- Placing wellbeing at the centre of government decision-making.
- Affordable housing solutions.
- Providing targeted food relief.
- Bringing down energy costs.
- Closing Tasmania’s digital divide.
- Improving transport and affordability.
We will continue to urge the Government to commit to making policy and budget decisions which put the wellbeing of Tasmanians first.