Candyce Braithwaite

High number of local residents struggle to make ends meet

POVERTY affects more than one million Australians, about 5% of the population, but the percentage of Northern Rivers locals doing it financially tough could be much higher.

According to the recently released Falling through the Cracks report by the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre, more than one million Australians are currently living in severe income poverty, having access to a household income of less than 30% of the national medium.

A single person in severe income poverty typically has no more than $133 to live on each week after deducting housing costs.

For a couple with children, this figure is slightly less at about $261 each week after rent.

Northern Rivers Social Development Council CEO Tony Davies said the percentage of people living in severe income poverty in the Northern Rivers was likely higher given the relatively high unemployment rate, low income and high cost of living.

"What we do know is incomes in the region are approximately two-thirds of the national average," he said.

"We know that unemployment is considerably higher and consistently higher than the state and national averages."

Mr Davies said almost two in five households are in rental stress, struggling to meet housing costs as opposed to one in four for New South Wales.

He said this was due to a range of factors including high demand and limited housing supply as well as lack of affordable public transport," Mr Davies said.



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