I’m tired, sore and disappointed. Happy Budget Hangover day

This but it’s May 2024:

A couple of days ago we heard that there was gonna be some sort of increase to the useless rent assistance payment in this budget. That turned out to be 10% from September 20’s next indexation, up to $9/week depending on how much you already get, if you’re one of people who can actually access it. If my rent goes up less than $10/week at the end of the year (if I’m lucky enough to get a renewed lease hey) I’ll be shocked. Shocked.


5000 people on JobSeeker who have assessed work capacity of <15 hours (and by all rights should be on DSP if the rules for that weren’t so restrictive) will get a slightly higher rate of Jobseeker, like the over 55s who have been on Jobseeker for 9 months or more. I guess it’s their substitute for not having a sickness benefit – so Cancer patients can afford to pay for parking at the hospital for treatment or something.


No actual JobSeeker or other welfare increases, despite the hopes and prayers of the community sector and the Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee. Thoughts and prayers that I beg them to at least persist with for the next 12 months, because Labor can’t be re-electable without a plan to bring welfare payments to the poverty line in their 2025 election promises.

The $300 energy bill subsidy for all is less than pensioners and families got this financial year (you might be getting some extra in Qld or WA from their state labor governments going to elections this year), and won’t be felt by those who don’t need it and $50 less subsidy a quarter WILL be felt by me. So Yeah. Not impressed. Also, straight to the billing company, quarter by quarter no chance of using it in one hit to catch up or to use for something else. (or someone else if you want to spend your subsidies and tax cuts on Andrew Leigh’s dream of a doubled charity sector by 2030).

Medicines are being capped at their current top rates ($7.70 for pensioners, $31.60 for everyone else) for a few years. So that’ll mean getting less behind, something I yelled about them doing sooner, and yay they’ve done it. Which is great, cos I’ve been having health concerns, and having to pay upfront for the GP isn’t going anywhere for most of us as most GPs haven’t returned to bulk billing, and the average gap in $44 a session now. My scans and blood tests were bulk billed last week, but still need $76 upfront for an appointment for follow-up  so I’m going on Friday, pension day!

I’ll leave you with the darling Catherine Caine, brains behind Nobody Deserves Poverty, and her budget reaction from last night.

Love yas. xo

Defining the “Essentials” of Living

Week two of the Poverty course, and the pre-lecture discussion this week is about what things we would consider to be everyday essentials for everyone. We’ve gone through some items from the Australian Living Standards Survey (ALSS), 2017, Poverty and Exclusion in Modern Australia (PEMA) Survey, 2010 and as a comparison the Hong Kong Measuring Poverty and Social Exclusion Questionnaire, 2011 and chosen whether they’re essential for everyone, whether we have them and if we don’t is it because we chose not to have them or can’t afford them.

Some items, like clothes dryers and dishwashers are generally seen as non-essential. However with the two weeks of rain we’ve had here on the east coast I could go a drier right now, and the dishwasher we somehow have in this rental cuts my dishwashing time so much, time and spoons I can allocate elsewhere. Not a luxury, not and essential for me, but nice to have.

Others have discussed whether home internet is essential, and I would argue it is for nearly everyone these days, how else would any of us be able to do an inline course after dark without it? But then, doing a course such as this one is a little luxury in itself. Being able to extend knowledge in a field you work in every day, to gain more insight, more theoretical and practical understanding of what you’re actually dealing with. I’ve many friends and comrades in the antipoverty movement who rely on their home or mobile internet to connect, to lobby, to seek help, to learn and further themselves and their causes. They may be able to make do with a phone only – I can’t just do phone if I want to read anything longer than a tweet, but to say that essential internet stuff can be dealt with on an hour booked time on a local library PC is really restrictive and doesn’t take into account what people need to do online to live these days.

Dental care is essential, but not available to many. Same with health care – the Hong Kong survey asked if being able to take a taxi to and from hospital was essential – here we would most likely have a friend or family member with a car to take us home, even if we were able to have an ambulance ride in – but whether that’s even an option varies by state, concessions and insurances.

Speaking of insurance – home contents and comprehensive car insurance were on the questionnaire for Australia. I personally don’t have either, I flinched hard enough at the quote for greenslips to simply re-register my car. But are they essential? I’m sure other drivers would like to know the others on the road were insured. And if we lost our home to a fire we’d be starting from scratch. But to insure our wombled household goods? So hard to justify.

Other items and conditions, such as a house without mold, adequate heating or cooling, the means to afford those power bills, are all everyday discussion in my threads. All to be treasured when you have them and to push for others to have too. How could you argue they’re not essential but those in power still hesitate to mandate them.

I’ve had a busy morning, taking a  months recycling out to the point, starting some of my Antipoverty Centre duties and trying to finish these readings. The 6-8pm timeframe of lectures is rough, but I can make it through that. I’m a bit tired, the cool weather just makes me want to sleep more too. The rain makes juggling the dog’s begging to go out and the washing backing up hard. At least Maxi’s skin irritations have settled.

Why should we care about poverty?

So I started a short course last night – “Understanding Poverty, Inequality and Social Disadvantage in Australia“. My fees were paid for by AUWU, which was sweet of them, and will help put me on the same page as all the not for profits and their staff doing and writing the course when I’m posting for Nobody Deserves Poverty. Last night’s lecture was a lot of background theory and definitions, I may have glazed over at points when they started talking numbers, but it was good to be able to take time to do readings and put my thoughts into words for a more academic audience, rather than my blog posts or Twitter. Like formulating a response to someone hinting towards personal responsibility for poverty without saying as much in pre discussions. But still bringing myself and my experiences, I mean I was there in the Zoom with my hello kitty fleece and onesies downunder onesie on….

In two weeks Jim’ll have given his budget speech, papers will have their winners and losers, and other parties and organisations will be preparing their responses. And there will be a year til the Federal Election. Which should be interesting, let’s see if Albanese can come back from angering many women on the weekend, not just by lying by lying about lying, and using the “But I’m the primeminister” line which was not at all helpful.

Free coffee!

We were talking in line at the foodbank this morning, since we were there before opening, about how everyone is just extra stressed at the moment, and that how if someone pushes in here or another example was a guy wandering cluelessly in front of the like at Centrelink, you have to be cautious about calling them out on it. Because sometimes you get the oops, I’m sorry, but sometimes you might get punched. If politicians aren’t able to keep their cool with women and model that behaviour, how’s everyone else going?

So, why should we care about poverty? was a question posed at some time last night. Perhaps it’s beyond politicians to care about it because of it being the right thing to do to look after others, but perhaps the possibility of being voted out, of rising unrest among the masses, might make them care. Or they may just try to arrest their way through it.

It’s the start of May, so I’m meant to look back at some of the things I got at the foodbanks last month. It was an up and down month financially here, with the boys struggling to finish a job and finally getting paid for it, and different places being closed for school or public holidays, or simply not having deliveries that week. But there was a great rockmelon, a terrible bottle of vanilla pepsi max that got poured down the sink, and so many breads and crackers.

I also did a lovely roast chicken with veges from OzHarvest. These little bean tubs keep giving, and I still get very excited when there’s bananas! Then we had good paydays, and braved the supermarkets screaming why is everything so expensive and paying because we could this fortnight for the big and little things we’d been holding out on. I finally got olive oil, but I keep forgetting soy sauce.

There’s 10+ days of rain here, so the boys are working between the showers. Occasionally someone stops to look at the boat for sale on the front lawn but moves on. I’m trying to keep up with washing on the racks, still trying to figure the best place for them. I looked at the app for the electricity and estimate on that freaked me out. So while I think there are many better ways than paying the electricity companies money directly to subsidise our bills, I’m really hoping, personally, for it to continue for another year lol. I’ve said before I don’t see how they could end it before the election, they’ve cornered themselves on that one.

So, happy May Day.

Let’s talk the price of Spam

Yeah, the actual tinned Spam, not email clutter.

I know you guys love my “tales from the Foodbank” and I was almost thought I was gonna get a score when I saw there was actual Spam at the foodbank this morning. My partner’s gotten keen on it since we got some I think it a Xmas hamper. So I’ve been getting the $2.99 Aldi tinned Spiced Ham, also proudly made in the USA like the original Hormel.

I fry it up in the pan and service it with toast and microwave scrambled eggs for a midday meal in the middle of the boys’ workday when they come back home for lunch and a rest.

Sadly, I got closer and read the price sticker – 2 for $12. Two for $12??? I pay three for the Aldi version, and the full price at Coles and Woollies is $6.80. I didn’t check the dates on these, I do hope they’re long dated since it is tinned. My Aldi ham has a best before of October 2026.

It’s actually “only” $5.40 this week at Coles, too.

So, once again Aldi wins for price in this little competition. They have put a bunch of prices up again lately though, so I need to constantly keep reassessing. And we know that 1.8% indexation is already long gone from out payments.

Just a girl, hanging out in the rain, waiting for the gates to open.

Welfare is going up a dollar a day from March 20

Well, 96 cents if you’re on Jobseeker. Personally my pension indexation is $1.05 a day. That certainly won’t make any impact whatsoever when it starts getting indexed from Thursday (March 20).

Allowances Family Situation Previous Amount 20 Mar 2024 Increase Single, 22 or over, no children $749.20 $762.70 $13.50 pf Single, 22 or over, with children $802.50 $816.90 $14.40 pf Single, 55 or over, after 9 months $802.50 $816.90 $14.40 pf Partnered (each) $686.00 $698.30 $12.30 pf Single, principal carer of child, exempt from activity test* $970.20 $987.70 $17.50 pf

And don’t worry, Rent Assistance will only be going up about $1.50/week so it won’t help at all with this year’s rent increases.

We saw news articles last week where people are suddenly realising that people who are retiring to the aged pension and don’t own a house are fucked. No real acknowledgement though that that’s already the reality for people on DSP and Jobseeker, and that we’re not really adding to our Superannuation in any significant way to help with those costs if we live til 67.

Personally, my Super has been hovering around $150k since I stopped being a speech pathologist, fluctuation with markets. See how much it devalues over then next 25 years hey, and see what opportunities I have to add to it.

In personal news, I’ve moved sides of the living room. Bruce’s son is moving in this week, so we’re rejigging a bunch of things ahead of that. It means I’m under my hue lights now and have a nice solid wall behind me rather than open room/tv. Now to phona-fy the rest of the corner.