The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has announced a 6 per cent rise in inflation, and UOW students are struggling to pay rent and meet essential needs.
This year, the Labor Government announced an increase to the Youth Allowance scheme of approximately $40 a fortnight, which is set to be implemented in September.
UOW student, Valentina Todros said that the Youth Allowance she receives is not as supportive as she had hoped.
“It doesn’t help as much per fortnight… I find it doesn’t keep up with rising costs,” she said.
“I hope that the $40 increase will be useful, but I don’t see how that could help me for the remainder of the fortnight.”
The Youth Allowance payment will increase by $2.86 a day, and students are concerned whether this amount will keep up with inflation. These concerns follows the ABS announcement of a 0.8 per cent increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
UOW student, Edie Koller recently moved from a rural town to Wollongong. She said she was unaware of the CPI increase but has noticed how being independent in the city is noticeably more expensive than where she grew up.
“Little things, such as parking fees and extra activities (like) going out to eat and going to the hairdressers, struck me by surprise with how much it would impact my everyday expenses,” Ms Koller said.
The cost of living away from home is concerning for many students. Ms Koller is worried that the Youth Allowance increase will not be substantial enough to secure her financial independence.
“Moving away from my family who financially supported me has also had an impact as they have experienced this price change as well,” she said.
“It was also an adjustment to them and it placed greater stress on myself to make sure I had enough money to support myself.”
Ms Koller is concerned with the rate at which these prices will continue to increase in the future.
“I not only stress about affording the essentials as being a student living away from home, but also how I am supposed to prepare for my future university expenses,” she said.
“I question whether the government will continue to increase the allowance as prices rise or if I am expected to cut down on meals for the week.”