More than half of financially vulnerable Australians cannot afford to pay utility bills on time, new Salvation Army research has found, as cost of living pressures continue to mount nationwide.
The survey found 64 per cent of those polled did not have enough money to pay bills on time, while 51 per cent had hardship plans with energy providers.
To save on power, 74 per cent of respondents pulled back on heating, 70 per cent reduced use of lights and 60 per cent cut down on showers.
Other measures included going to bed early to keep warm (34 per cent) and stopping having guests over (36 per cent).
“Having to decide whether to put the heating on to stay warm in winter can literally be the difference between life and death,” Salvation Army’s David Collinson said in a statement.
The poll of 1700 charity-seekers comes as stubbornly high inflation and a housing crisis puts the squeeze on households and after the federal government promised a $14.6 billion cost of living package in its May budget.
Earlier this week, analysis by Anglicare Australia showed a family of four with two full-time minimum wage workers was left with just $73 left after expenses.
Anglicare’s report also showed a single full-time minimum wage worker has $57 left after essential weekly expenses.
A single parent with one child on minimum wage fell $180 short on essentials after rent, transport, food, education and child care, it found.
(Australian Associated Press)