Cost of living soaring across Queensland: Report

Fraser Barton |

Living costs have risen more in Brisbane than elsewhere in the nation, according to a report.
Living costs have risen more in Brisbane than elsewhere in the nation, according to a report.

Queensland has become “ground zero” for Australia’s cost of living crisis, with Brisbane leading the nation in rent, energy, insurance and health price hikes.

A study has revealed a majority of Queensland’s low-income families can’t afford a basic cost of living, with some choosing between keeping the power on and feeding their families.

The Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) report said housing was often 40 per cent or more of total household expenditure for people surveyed.

QCOSS’s Living Affordability in Queensland study investigated whether low-income families could afford a basic cost of living, painting a troublesome picture for residents, especially in the southeast.

Brisbane led the nation in price increases, with hikes for fuel at nearly 14 per cent, electricity at 12.7 per cent, rent at 7.8 per cent, transport at 7.4 per cent and housing at 6.6 per cent between August 2022 and August 2023.

The city’s overall inflation rate of 6.3 per cent also sat slightly higher than the national level.

The rising costs were revealed as Queensland was rated Australia’s worst-performing state economy, according to CommSec’s quarterly assessment data.

“The cost rises in Queensland makes this state ground zero in the housing crisis,” Queensland Opposition Leader David Crisafulli said.

Among the sample groups surveyed in the QCOSS study, only one was able to meet basic living costs while others were either in debt or failing to make ends meet.

The report said a working family with children was in deficit roughly $200 per week just trying to afford basics.

“Working families right now can’t afford a decent standard of living, and are making choices between keeping a roof over their head, keeping the power on in heat and feeding their kids healthy meals,” QCOSS chief executive Aimee McVeigh told AAP.

A severe shortage of affordable rentals and low vacancy rates meant the risk of homelessness was real for many, QCOSS said.

Premier Steven Miles on Monday said the government would soon release a comprehensive housing plan.

Steven Miles
Queensland Premier Steven Miles says the government is working to relieve cost pressures. (Jono Searle/AAP PHOTOS)

The state government has already frozen public transport and car registration fee increases in 2024 as well as implemented energy rebates to curb living pressures on households.

Ms McVeigh said more help was needed, calling on a housing plan that addressed the need for social and affordable housing both now and in the future.

“We call on the government to raise the rate of income support payments to at least $78 a day to ensure the safety, shelter, and wellbeing of Queenslanders,” she said.