Tuesday, July 03, 2007

How to earn $1210 a week, and end up only $187 better off than the poor sods on Newstart! ERRATUM:

ERRATUM: DH has major egg on the face. She got it all wrong, as explained in the comments section. She's not as poor as she thinks and actually has $394 a week to pay for all the items in green. It's not brilliant but its survivable.

A new spreadsheet will be uploaded when she has the energy.

[Note income = $1050 + $160 (young adult child's generous (!?) disability pension)

Disposable Income???

$394 (234 + 160) must cover:

FOOD, MEDICATIONS, EDUCATION, REPAIRS, CLOTHES, MEDICAL GAP FEES, DENTAL AND OPTOMETRY COSTS, BANK FEES, SAVINGS, holidays, entertainment, textbooks, courses, educational excursions, white goods, furnishings, doctor's visits, hospitalisations, memberships, subscriptions, charity donations, cultural events.

SAVINGS??? What savings?

CAR? DH has long ago turned necessity into a virtue, and consoles herself that she is choosing not to own a car, rather than priced out of it.

HOLIDAYS??? DH and child have not been able to afford a holiday away in longer than 2 days away in the last 2 years.

DH considers herself fortunate not to be renting in the private market. She has NO IDEA how private renters survive the current housing crisis, totally sympathises, and hopes it will not create a climate of prejudice and downward envy of public housing tenants. It is too easy for populist governments to divide and rule battlers by setting the weak on the weaker.

At least for the first 3 months, with a TEIS* rebate, she will be better off by abt $419, and can hopefully catch up on some of her needs.

*TEIS: Tenant Employment Incentive Subsidy, whereby rent doesn't change from full subsidy for 3 months.


Himself said...

I'm a bit sceptical about this. I don't really understand why electricity and gas is costing you $50 a week – I doubt I spend that in a month. Contents insurance is only necessary when you have stuff worth stealing, so I don't pay it and I doubt someone on Newstart would bother. I certainly don't think someone on Newstart would bother having private health insurance either, as indeed I do not.

I also think the '$187 better off' bit is missing the point that, by your calculations, you're more like 2000% better off.

I presume you have a two-bed place in public housing – you could certainly get a two-bed place in the private market for what you're paying in most parts of Sydney. It's worth noting that your income is apparently almost double the level at which someone would now be considered too well off to be in public housing, which goes a long way to explaining why your rent is so high.

DH said...

This is very embarassing. And not only because 'Himself' is right - DH quoted the fortnightly electricity and gas deduction by mistake. The reason it is so much is because DH is slowly paying off arrears accrued in the the 3 months in which she received no income whatever due to Centrelink's administrative chaos. Nevertheless, that would not affect the final figure, as it is the same entry in both columns. The private health insurance covers not only DH, but her child and her mother, and DH considers it a necessity, in the absence of decent dental care, glasses for all the family, her mother's health costs, the punitive costs of delaying private contributions, and add to that, the risk of accident or injury. What is more embarassing is that DH's agency is not deducting her super from her hourly rate, but adding it. DH assumed based on past employment that her super would be deducted. This means she is $220 better off in the here and now, not $187. (given that her taxes are greater). Readers may wonder how she survives at all. The magic ingredient is that the family income is supplemented by her child's pension. Her mother's pension, BTW, goes in almost its entirety to the aged care facility in which she lives.

As for being 2000% better off, beware of statistics. It still means $220 for all life's necessities. Other Diary entries show that DH is not complaining of her lot compared to renters on the private market. Quite the contrary. She believes affordable rent for all is not beyond the capacities of a wealthy nation like Australia. What is lacking is political will, which should not be squandered by the cheap expedient of driving wedges between public and private renters.

DH will shortly publish a correction.

BTW, DH is taking this as a sign confirming what she has been thinking for the last year. The Diary is well over its use-by date. With "Reshaping Public Housing" off the radar, the prospect of not having Howard to kick around any more, the high priority of housing on the political agenda, the fruition of the community development goals she set for herself, and finally finding a job that performs a useful social service congruent with her abilities, interest and values, she no longer feels the Diary has a useful role to play, either personally or politically. This is developing into a swansong...

How about that? It looks like Himself has been the much needed catalyst for DH to take the plunge into cyber oblivion ...