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Vinnies says price hikes hit battlers the hardest


St Vincent de Paul Society NSW/ACT spokesperson Terry McCarthy has expressed alarm at the rate at which battling Australians have been hit the hardest by price hikes on essential goods and services.

In a media release yesterday, he pointed out that the cost of education has increased by three times the inflation rate over the past year. He added that housing costs have increased by more twice the rate of inflation in the past year.

"What sort of message does this send to young people from low income households?

"The cost of hospital and medical services has increased by more than three times the rate of inflation in the past year," he said. "Put this alongside the fact that the cost of fruit has risen by over five times the inflation rate and you begin to see how poverty is bad for your health."

Mr McCarthy said that the long-term picture is even more telling. He revealed that since 1990, the cost of education has increased by triple the rate of inflation. This, he said, "ensures that those who are in deprivation stay there".

Also since 1990, the cost of health services has increased by over twice the rate of inflation, and the cost of urban public transport fares has increased by over twice the rate of inflation.

Mr McCarthy said that these figures "tell a very different story to the one told by the official rate of inflation".

"Before we start giving ourselves a pat on the back for low inflation rates let's take stock of the burden we've placed on the backs of the poor."

Vinnies said that over 3.5 million Australians are struggling to make ends meet.

"We do them a great injustice by not even recognising the reality of their day-to-day struggle to feed, clothe, house, heal and educate their children," said Mr McCarthy. "The CPI figures fly in the face of the reality for them."

SOURCE
Price hikes hit battlers the hardest (St Vincent de Paul Society 2/8/04)

LINKS
St Vincent de Paul Society
Vinnies' Budget plea to Costello to think of poor (CathNews 11/5/04)


3 Aug 2004