Regional and remote communities disproportionately impacted by the cost of living crisis

Australians are sleeping in cars, businesses
are struggling, and crime is tearing through regional and remote communities,
the Cost of Living Committee has heard.

At the hearing in
Alice Springs, Senator Jane Hume and Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price heard
harrowing stories about the impact the cost of living crisis is having on

High inflation,
freight and transport costs has pushed up the prices of goods in regional and
remote Australia, meaning that the $50 food voucher the Salvation Army used to
provide to feed a whole family is no longer enough.

Mayor of Alice
Springs, Mr Matt Paterson, said that the cost of freight to regional areas like
Alice Springs increased the costs of goods across the board, noting that “a
dollar doesn’t go as far in regional Australia as it does everywhere else”.

Witnesses from the
Northern Territory Chamber of Commerce told the Committee there was less
tourism flowing into Alice Springs and similar communities as Australians
reprioritise their spending to cope with the cost of living.

While a
representative from a local women’s support organisation said if they could ask
for one thing from the Government, it would be for more jobs, not welfare.

Mr Gavin Morris,
Principal of the Yipirinya School, said it was harder to attract and retain
teachers at the school due to high accommodation costs, with the staff turnover
causing more anti-social behaviour with students and in the community.

Locals who appeared
at the Community Forum reported that the deteriorating law and order situation
in Alice Springs was yet another pressure for businesses who are already doing
it tough.

One witness said the
increase in crime and damage to property was costing small businesses, which
could barely afford to pay for the repairs.

Senator Hume said
the cost of living crisis goes beyond those primary issues like struggling to
pay a bill, with secondary effects having a serious impact on Australians too.

“Cost of living
pressures are contributing to family and relationship breakdowns, negatively
impacting education outcomes, and creating anti-social behaviour.

“The cost of living
crisis can’t be looked at through a single lens but the Albanese Government
isn’t even willing to acknowledge there is a problem.

“With no plan to get
inflation under control, Labor has waved the white flag on the cost of living.
Those in regional and remote Australia are bearing the brunt of this crisis,”
Senator Hume said.

Senator Nampijinpa
Price said the Labor Government had shown it is not interested in listening to
communities like Alice Springs.

“We have heard today
about the impact crime is having on driving up business costs, and that there
are community members who are desperate because their children’s basic needs
are not able to be met.”

“This is best
summarised by the fact the Prime Minister was forced into Alice Springs for a
few hours earlier this year.

“He announced $250
million for a package to provide relief to residents yet this money has not
been allocated and local initiatives such as the Yipirinya Boarding School
still can not get a look in,” Senator Nampijinpa Price concluded.

Senator Hume and
Senator Nampijinpa Price called on all Australians to share their stories of
how the cost of living is impacting them by providing submissions to

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