Cost of living, unemployment & poverty key issues ahead of Budget

By Leith van Onselen

Research by Roy Morgan has found that 32% of Australians believe the economy or some kind of economic issue to be the most important problem facing Australia in early 2018, with concerns around the cost of living (10%), unemployment (7%), and Poverty and the gap between rich and poor (5%) featuring prominently:

In early 2018, 32% of Australians believe the economy or some kind of economic issue to be the most important problem facing Australia…

Economic issues were mentioned by more Australians than any other two themes combined. 14% mentioned Religion, Immigration and Human Rights issues and a further 14% mentioned Government, Politics and Leadership issues while 13% mentioned Social issues and 11% mentioned Environmental issues…

Within the group of Economic & Financial issues the most important issues are:

Financial problems, economy and the cost of living mentioned by nearly 10% of respondents: Verbatim comments about this theme were centred around concerns about the cost of living with ‘everything’ becoming more expensive, the lack of wages growth, struggling families with increasing utilities bills, economic instability and financial insecurity and money problems, and the problems of housing affordability with too many investors inflating house prices.

Unemployment mentioned by over 7% of respondents: Unemployment verbatim comments ranged from the lack of jobs and employment opportunities available, job insecurity with permanent jobs replaced with contractual positions, and issues with automation.

Poverty and the gap between rich and poor which was mentioned by 5% of respondents: Verbatim comments referred to inequality and the economic disparity with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer with big business effectively running the country, and potential social fragmentation due to these wage imbalances.

According to Michele Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan:

“Driving the concerns in Australia are Financial problems, the economy and cost of living concerns including housing affordability mentioned by nearly 10% of respondents and Unemployment – mentioned by more than 7% of respondents.

“Today’s Roy Morgan March unemployment release shows that although the Australian economy is generating jobs it’s not growing fast enough to reduce the number of Australians looking for work or looking for more work. In March more than 2.5 million Australians were either unemployed or under-employed and more detail on Australian real unemployment is available to view here.

“Other Economic concerns mentioned include Poverty and the gap between rich and poor mentioned by 5% of respondents, Foreign ownership and investment and selling our assets mentioned by 2% and homelessness and the lack of housing mentioned by 2% of respondents and a series of minor economic issues mentioned by a further 6% of respondents.

“Interestingly there is a clear gender split on the two main economic issues with the leading economic issue mentioned by women clearly being unemployment on 10%, but mentioned by under 5% of men while over 13% of men mention Financial problems, economy and cost of living compared to just 6% of women. This differential is likely due to the higher proportion of women that work part-time (nearly 50%) than men (under 25%) and would like to work longer hours or in more secure employment – borne out by respondents verbatim comments analysed above.

“Analysing by Federal voting intention shows it is supporters of the L-NP (38%) and Independents and Others (39%) that are most likely to nominate an Economic issue as the most important problem facing Australia – and this is a trend we’ve seen in previous analysis of Australia’s most pressing economic concerns a year ago. In contrast 31% of ALP supporters and only 22% of Greens supporters are concerned about Economic issues.

“The leading Economic issue according to L-NP supporters is Financial problems, economy and cost of living mentioned by 12% of L-NP supporters led by 8% mentioning the Economy in particular followed by 7% mentioning Unemployment. ALP supporters are most concerned about Poverty and the gap between rich and poor mentioned by 9% of respondents just ahead of Unemployment on 8%. Greens supporters have a similar view to ALP supporters with nearly 13% mentioning Poverty and the gap between rich and poor and nearly 9% mentioning Unemployment.”

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Comments

  1. Boohoo!

    These losers should harden up, lose the sense of entitlement and get better jobs. And stop complaining.

  2. the problems of housing affordability with too many investors inflating house prices.

    Well IF there were too many investors then this would deflate housing rents.
    Since housing rents have also risen enormously it should be obvious the problem is too few houses and/or too many people requiring shelter – not too many investors.

    • To be fair, these are not mutually exclusive. There are too many investors (speculators) AND too few houses.

      • too many speculators paying too high prices so they must push rents up in order to cover the bills and hope there will be another chump who will buy the property at 35% premium in 2 years.
        Eventually this practice will hit the wall – there is limit of how much rent people can afford.

      • …put more people in each dwelling and increase the limit. Young white collar professionals do House-share all the time now. It’s reality, not theory.

    • Jumping jack flash

      It doesn’t deflate rents because everyone just sets them to what the agent tells them to set it to. Generally rates play a part, and they don’t generally fall.

      You charge what the market will bear. But, if everyone just sets a high price, then the market must bear it. Markets have failed because everyone knows how to manipulate them now, due to greed and debt, and there’s no alternatives.

      The real measure is the number of homeless or increases in accommodation sharing. That’s what’s spiking.

      In my cheap little town, you suddenly see homeless wandering around where there were no homeless before, and my kids have several friends at school who live in share housing with at least one other family. I know this because they can’t sleep over at their houses because of it. That never used to be the case.

      And prices are cheap here! 300/w rent for detached 3brm house with back yard. Cheap as, mate!

      • If you check with an old-timer you will find that $300 per week is an epic rise in rent. Unemployed people with a few kids used to be able to rent a house in many parts. Trolley pushers at the local supermarket could afford to rent a house.

      • Claw

        Wages have been stagnate since the 70s, hence try getting anything without seeking income through speculation or being on the receiving end of it.

  3. No better way to ease inequality than to do what Martin Luther King wanted.

    Give out the $900 cheques again – and make them monthly.

  4. Loaded Greens voters have no economic issues with loading everyone else up with problems.

  5. There would be none of these issues if you bloody loafers just went out and got a good paying job.

  6. Jumping jack flash

    “…although the Australian economy is generating jobs it’s not growing fast enough to reduce the number of Australians looking for work or looking for more work…”

    So, the population ponzi is growing faster than the number of new jobs created to put them all into.

    How can we possibly have a skills shortage?
    Why do we need immigration set to the high level it is currently set to?

    Rhetorical questions, of course.

  7. Could be something hidden here too: “14% mentioned Religion, Immigration and Human Rights issues ”.

    Wonder what percentage of those were immigration?

  8. Why was “Excessive population growth” not listed as one of the ‘Important Economic problems Facing Australia’, when clearly its exacerbating each and every other ‘issue’ that was on the list…