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Dole bludger myth busted as ABS shows welfare recipients spend less on alcohol

14 September 2017 5:43 AM
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Dole bludger myth busted as ABS shows welfare recipients spend less on alcohol

IT IS one of the criticisms levelled against people on welfare, but new figures may prove it’s actually not true.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics this week released its household expenditure statistics report, breaking down how Australians spend their money.

The report shows that Aussies overall spend more than half of their average weekly spend on goods and services on basics, covering things like housing, food, energy, health care and transport.

Aussies spend an average $846 of the weekly household spend of $1,425 on these items and service.

Included in these basics are food and non-alcoholic beverages, but booze is counted separately, and the results make for some interesting reading.

Australians whose main source of income was from government pensions and allowances, were found to spend an average of $12.14 out of their $677.19 on alcoholic drinks, or 1.8 per cent.

Overall, Australian households on average were found to spend $31.95 of their $1425.03 weekly spend on alcohol — a total of 2.2 per cent.

Those whose main source of household income came from their employer, or their own business, were each found to spend 2.5 per cent of their weekly household spend on booze, and those whose income fitted into the “other” category indulged 2.5 per cent of their weekly budget.

The findings come amid a government push for a cashless welfare card that quarantines a large chunk of Centrelink payments and can’t be used to pay for alcohol, cigarettes, or gambling.

The program is being trialled in three locations around Australia and Nationals MPs are pushing for a widespread rollout of the scheme.

The push has been criticised for stigmatising and marginalising people, and follows complaints welfare recipients have felt targeted and labelled.

The ABS data showed the biggest increased in spending on goods and services by households since the last survey in 2009-10 included education, which was up 44 per cent, health care, up 26 per cent, and housing, which was up 25 per cent.

Low-wealth households were found to spend a higher proportion of their income on housing then those who earned more.

ABS Chief Economist Bruce Hockman said the survey showed the pattern of household spending had changed considerably.

“In 1984, the largest contributors to household spending were food (20 per cent), then transport (16 per cent) and housing (13 per cent),” he said.

“Jump forward to 2015-16, and housing is now the largest contributor (20 per cent), followed by food (17 per cent), and transport costs (15 per cent).”


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