Many doing it tough before mass lockdowns

Colin Brinsden, AAP Economics and Business Correspondent
(Australian Associated Press)

 

Even before the latest round of COVID-19 lockdowns, which has seen half the population affected, many Australians were suffering financial stress or feeling insecure about their income and work.

These lockdowns in NSW, Victoria and South Australia are costing the economy $300 million per day, which looks set to go into contraction in the September quarter.

Even if the economy bounces back in the December quarter and avoids a recession, two separate surveys suggest many people are doing it tough.

A new Ipsos poll found two in five Australians had experienced insecure work before the most recent lockdowns.

More than half those aged under 29 were faced with an insecure income, as were just under one in two among those aged between 30 and 49, according to survey of 1000 people.

“Insecure incomes and work have become rampant across Australia,” Anglicare Australia executive director Kasy Chambers said responding to the survey.

“These people are falling through the cracks. That will only get worse as lockdowns go on.”

She said the JobSeeker dole payment is too low and too restrictive, and many people who work casually can’t even get it.

“With so many people in insecure work, casual workers need more support,” she said.

Meanwhile, a separate survey found almost half of Australians have experienced some financial stress.

The survey of 3000 people commissioned by Your Financial Wellness found younger Australians and women were particularly impacted.

Co-founder of the Sydney-based data analytics platform Alex Hassall said owning your own home is the most important factor in increasing financial wellness but this is becoming more of a challenge for many.

“There’s also a strong correlation between financial literacy and financial wellness,” he said.

“We believe that financial wellness is the responsibility of caring financial institutions, who can strategically position themselves as helping their customers achieve financial wellness and go beyond just offering products to them.”

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