Welfare payments must be increased to help Australians struggling to survive the cost-of-living crisis, according to the Australian Council of Social Services.
The group said people were skipping showers to save on water, and even skipping meals in order to pay rent.
ACOSS is calling for the “dismal” daily Jobseeker rate of $46 to be increased to at least $73 a day in the October budget.
“People every day are having to make difficult decisions about whether they pay for their groceries or their diabetes medication or if they pay the rent,” ACOSS spokeswoman Charmaine Crowe said.
Independent senator David Pocock said he understood the government had a difficult situation managing competing interests but “everyday Australians are crying out for help”.
“We’re a wealthy country, and it seems to me that people who are in between jobs or studying should be able to live above the poverty line, to actually be able to put food on the table,” he said.
“There are so many stories of people skipping meals, skipping medicines, having to walk kilometres to get to job interviews and to Centrelink.”
Treasurer Jim Chalmers will deliver a Federal Budget for the Albanese Labor Government on 25 October 2022.