After a pensioner told the Sunshine Coast Daily his increasing rates bill was sending him on regular appointments to the doctor, hundreds came forward and admitted finacial stress makes them sick. Debt Rescue was asked for thier expert opinion on the rising cost of living in Australia and how it is affecting people’s lives.
Hundreds Struggling with Increasing Costs
A Sunshine Coast pensioner’s plight has outraged an entire community and prompted calls for the council to review its charges.
Despite the issue emerging as the most important to homeowners on the Coast, Mayor Mark Jamieson was too busy to make comment yesterday.
The story erupted after 87-year-old Andrew Michael told his server health problems were caused through a 12% increase in his rates charges.
And now it seems Mr Michael was not alone with dozens confessing to the pinch of council’s relentless rate rise.
According to a Sunshine Coast debt aid worker, there are hundreds of people struggling to afford to pay their bills and are racking up more debt day by day.
Debt Rescue said many people had resorted to sleeping without heat and going without basic meals just to get by.
“The hard thing to comprehend for most people is that their wages aren’t changing, but the basic cost of living is going up week on week and for some people it is as high as 10%â€ they said.
“People are relying more on credit cards to fill the gap in their living costs. And these are people not living excessively; they are just trying to exist.â€
Sunshine Coast Association of Ratepayer president Ian Christensen said the disappointment was based around Council’s failure to meet amalgamation promises.
“It’s a shame that in the fifth year of an amalgamated council, where we were told there would be efficiencies, that we are still seeing rate rises.â€ Mr Christensen said.
“We were told the economic spending would be scaled back and efficiencies introduced to help people out.
“It just appears we have inserted another level of middle management, which is no benefit to the ratepayers.â€
Ms Witton said other bills, including insurance and water, were adding to the stress.
“People are doing what they can, hooking up solar and changing their ways of living,â€ Debt Rescue said.
“But the cost of running a house is just getting larger and larger and unless wages come to the party then it is completely unreasonable for anyone to be expected to afford it.â€