What the 2023 Budget means for me

Hey, there’s all these breakdowns of the budget winners and losers and hype and hyperbole, but what does the Labor May 2023 budget mean forΒ me – Fiona, a 40 year old, neurodivergent, partnered DSP recipient without kids of her own but plenty of them in her life whose lives wants to be as good as possible? Specific I know, but hey, it gives me a reference to do this breakdown. Hat-tip this this Guardian breakdown.

Current DSP breakdown totalling $950 a fortnight

Rent assistance:Β Commonwealth rent assistance will be going up from September 20 (yes, none of the increased welfare payments or changes to eligibility come in until September, it’s going to be a long winter). At the proposed 15%, I will be receiving $170.20 a fortnight in rent assistance to service the $820 fortnight rent that I share with my partner. He is not edible for rent assistance as a low income earner but I get the max amount for both of us.

Disability Support Pension: there was no raise to DSP, carers or Aged Pensions in the budget. I do not work but even if I did get some income from freelance work or online shennanigans, the earning cap before payments start to reduce hasn’t been increased for us on DSP, even though it was listed for Aged Pensioners.

PBS Medicines:Β The cost of pensioners meds was increased with inflation on Jan 1, raising from $6.70 to $7.20 a script, in amounts Labor’s boasts about cheaper medicines. I’m hoping to benefit from twice as many meds being able to be dispensed at once but I’m not certain it will apply to all my meds due to my previous misuse of some, we’ll see if that does halve my costs as promised.

Medicare: My GP hasn’t bulk billed concession card holders for years. They currently (as in I went Monday) charge $69 upfront for concession and pension card holders and children, and $89 for full fare, with he rebate at $39.75 usually coming back into my account that night. the proposed increase to the bulk billing incentive would mean that GPs would receive an incentive to bulk bill of $20.65 in the city up from $6.85. This is on top of the $40 scheduled fee. So around $61. Hopefully my GP will see it possible to go back to bulk billing pensioners. The urgent care clinics may come in handy.

Psychology: There was nothing announced about any increases in the amount of psychology sessions available through Medicare. It’s currently up to ten a calendar year, which is not enough to get anywhere, and I’d be paying over $200 up front a session if I did engage again. So, since I’m just ticking along I won’t for now.

NDIS: I don’t access the NDIS for myself. It doesn’t seem likely I’d get much support even if I did get into it somehow. I don’t have to current reports and I’d probably have to go through getting a formal diagnosis of Autism, which isn’t worth it from a financial or stress viewpoint if I’m happily ticking along. I’d probably not get it for my “treated and stabilised” BPD which got me DSP either. I’m rather concerned about the talks abut cuts and restraint to funding for my niblings who all have diagnoses and I’m trying to focus on helping them and my sister get the most out of their plans. My niece doesn’t have NDIS, and it’s a matter of seeing that 10 Medicare rebated psych sessions a year probably isn’t enough support going into her teens, but wondering what ASD 1 will get you in an era of restraint and cuts.

Power Bills:Β I should be getting the full rebates on my electricity bills here in NSW when they come through thankfully. I wish there was more incentives for landlords to install solar, insulation and other energy efficiency stuff in our cold rentals. I’ll also investigate and see if my partner is eligible for any of the discounted appliances for his small business. Can he get a more efficient buffer or pressure washer?

How about you? Were you a “budget winner”?

Let them eat special burger sauce hot cross buns

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They’re orange. Like the poster for our newest campaign at the Australian Unemployed Workers UnionNobody Deserves Poverty. With little flecks of gherkin crunch. There’s so much wrong with these special burger sauce hot cross buns from Coles and I think me getting them for free from the Salvos is a let them eat cake moment. One I’ll be regretting for the rest of the evening, but I used to be a food blogger, I’m used to trying new things cos I got them free, it’s just less glamourous these days when it’s snacks form the food bank rather than with cocktails over Sydney harbour.

These fruitless hot cross buns were worse, actually, so disappointing, but then also free and beggars can’t be choosers they say. The cupcakes were cute, but Maxi decided they were his, dammit dog!

So, I’ve been able to tickle my need for food blogging through my snack hauls from the local church, the salvos and the domestic violence charity we get out OzHarvest from each week, The Salvos is great for the baked treats from Coles, the church for sweets like the hippos because they don’t mark up at all and we can get all the sugary sweets we need for the coins I raid from my money box. Like these coconut wafers, omgosh they were so good for 50c, but I’ll never see them again.

While it’s fun because I make it fun, it’s also crap. I’d prefer to be able to just pick what I want from the supermarket shelves, when I want it, not because TeeVee snacks are in abundance and not selling and Woolies wrote off a truckload to Foodbank.

So we’re still calling for the Labor government to remember all those speeches they made in opposition about how JobSeeker was abysmally low and noone can live off it let alone have and choice and control over their food purchases.

Jeremy braved QandA again and asked another question that wasn’t answered. Rustedons are whining about how rude Stan Grant was to Amanda Rishworth, whereas I don’t think anyone needs to be polite when she snubbed a scheduled meeting with welfare recipients from her electorate last month and walked out on a petition being tabled to Raise the Rate last year. Manners aren’t getting us anywhere.

Which is why we’re showing up at Albo’s office on Friday April 28th, at midday. 334a Marrickville Rd, Marrickville. You should come or support online through social media actions and sharing stories and complaints with the hashtags #RaiseTheRate and #NobodyDeservesPoverty . The more the merrier!

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Hope to meet you there! Last action outside Albanese’s office I had influenza and couldn’t head down, so I’m saving my spoons for this one!

Growing up Neurodivergent in Newy

So, Black Inc Books went and pathologised Autism and related conditions and tried to uphold the medical model and delegitimise self-diagnosis in a world where diagnosis costs thousands of dollars and the trauma of reliving your childhood to get a label you already identify with so you can access NDIS and DSP and other supports. But go off. Click through to Twitter if you want to know how well that went with the Actually Autistic Aussie community there. Apparently they’re owned by a Zionist anyway, so whatever.

I’ve had a huge week, two days at the Sydney World Pride Human rights conference and my Nanna’s funeral and just surviving in between. I’m tired, probably sick, but always up for a rant.

The conference was amazing, 1800 delegates from around the world coming together to reaffirm the fight for our human rights as LGBTQIA+ people and wondering beings. The first session started late, about 45 minutes, which had me cranky since I’d been up since 4.30am to get there. They also had lunch scheduled in for times like 1.45pm…. I know it’s only 15 minutes later, but I feel like lunch should never start later than 1.30pm, Preferably no later than 1,

There were cookies. Many cookies. I feel like I need to learn more about Intersex people and the issues that affect them, and also about how gender is described in Indigenous populations and I need to step back more as a cis white woman and stfu. We need to decolonise at every stage, We need to look at who is not in the room and see how we can bring them in. I was there on an “affordability” ticket that I had to apply to get based on being a concession card holder. It was still $120, so well out of reach for most people I know living on welfare in this country, I put it on Zippay, so it’ll be paid off at some point. There was a panel on economic inclusion which talked about offering training to people to start their own businesses, but it all came down to there needing to be capital, start up funding and grants and microloans. Queer people will continue to need to crowdfund to get their dreams.

There was a roundtable on Thursday about Autistic and Queer identities but I had to miss that for my Nanna’s funeral. It was probably for the best I didn’t travel to Sydney three days in a row, anyway. I got to nap on the trips down which was helpful. I wish the coffee stations were open before the first session! But I guess they want everyone to buy from their cafe. The funeral was fine. I got impatient with an old lady who was asking my father where some other relative was living and I’m lady talk to us at the wake, not right now right after the service. I may not get along great with my father but I’m protective of him. Rah. It’s like when my Aunt died and someone was going off on him on the phone about something and I made my mother take the phone and tell them to kindly leave him the fuck alone.

I look at my family I’ve come from and the one that’s developing. I have queer and neurdiverse niblings on my side and Bruce’s, who’ve come out into this world and what it offers and threatens. I’m here to help them how I can to protect them and celebrate them. I’m going to become a step-grandmother this year, which I’m aiming to embrace and celebrate.

I’ll leave you with two book recommendations of amazing neurodivergent women. First is Anna Spargo-Ryan’s A kind of magic and second Amy Thunig’s Tell Me Again. Two women of around my age growing up in Australia with brilliant minds but fighting their own and their family’s demons around mental health and addiction. So much from both books resonated with me. You never know what people are going through.

I’m two years sober from alcohol. And I’ve done two months straight daily Japanese practice. I like numbers.

Happy New Year?

So, I started drafting a year in review for 2022, but then shit happened and now it’s Jan 5, so moving right along. I spent new years eve with my partner Bruce and my sister Jennie. I had planned to do that anyway, but it was kinda enforced after she took a deliberate overdose of paracetamol a few days before, had a hospital stay, and was discharged into my care. What a way to end and start the year, but I guess it’s good it wasn’t me this time and I’m in a place mentally where I can look after her to some extent, even if I’ve spent the afternoon asleep and hiding from the world to recover my spoons from over-stimulation, too much responsibility, and there just being too much noise. But I know what I needed and took this afternoon for that. So I can get back to it when I’m next needed, or maybe just take tomorrow to do housework around here and go pick up the book I have on hold at the library.

I also have started back into Japanese practice. I’m back to doing it daily through Duolingo and streaming it live to my Twitch so that I practice my pronunciations and make it less of a point and click game. I also have my new PC that Bruce built me over the last few months, the keyboard and mouse I won and new Logitech headset a twitter follower bought off my Throne Wishlist for Xmas!

As much as I didn’t wanna go into this year fighting, here we are. Bring it on!

Let the Christmas Countdown Begin!

Apparently it’s 34 days til Xmas!! Don’t @ me for putting up my Xmas so early, it’s later than the last couple of years! I made a time with my sister and the two youngest nephews to come over and help with the tree and decorating. That was yesterday, and it was a fun long day.

The putting up of the Christmas tree means I also started wearing my Xmas clothes and earrings. Not shoes yet but tomorrow! I have skirts and tunic tops and dresses and two pairs of shoes from Rainbows and Fairies (we did the shoot for the new Xmas print Santa’s house on Tuesday and those photos have gone up!

My teeshirts are pretty much all from TeeTurtle and the earrings are from Indifferent Avocado, Burnbella and various other online places over the years.

I haven’t put my outdoor lights out yet – it was super windy yesterday and the inflatable tree and Santa tried to leave, but when that dies down I’ll string up fairy lights outside with them and the meerkats! i was very restrained on the weekend and didn’t buy two more from Woolies , but if you want to add to the #CultOfTheMeerkat, you can via my throne :p

Christmas also means summer and it looks like lotsa boat rides in Bruce new tinny!