People on low incomes in Local Government Authorities (LGAs) across the State's Mid and Lower North, Yorke Peninsula, Barossa and Flinders Ranges have been particularly affected by increasing cost of living and a range of other social, health and wellbeing issues.
SACOSS Director of Policy and Advocacy Rebecca Tooher presented findings from SACOSS research and analysis at the Legatus Group Regional SA Wellbeing Forum in Kadina on Friday.
The findings are based on qualitative research conducted by SACOSS across the State earlier this year, and publicly-available quantitative data from Federal and State Governments, and Torrens University, and include:
- There is a shortage of private, social and affordable rental housing across most of the Legatus LGAs
- People on low incomes in some LGAs could be paying up to 77% of their income on rent
- Digital inclusion (accessing and using digital technologies) across the Legatus LGAs is lower than the SA average
- Residents across most Legatus LGAs report their overall wellbeing as being above the state average
Quotes attributable to SACOSS Director Policy and Advocacy Dr Rebecca Tooher
“Between March and July of this year, SACOSS embarked on a regional listening tour to hear from residents in the LGAs of Peterborough, Goyder, Yorke Peninsula, Copper Coast and Orroroo-Carrieton about their lives and the issues affecting them.
"The very clear message that we heard - and that the data back up - is there is an increase in the number of people in these regions experiencing poverty.
"Because of this increase in poverty, this can exacerbate other problems for those who are doing it the toughest.
"The stresses on housing markets and in particular a shortage of appropriate rental housing shortages means low income earners in Legatus LGAs experience higher levels of rental stress compared to the rest of the state - in some cases, paying up to 77% of their income on the rent.
"This financial stress can lead to having to make decisions no South Australians should have to make: deciding between rent or medicine, or between food or internet access for things like teleheath appointments.
"SACOSS will continue to advocate for people in South Australia's regions across the areas of housing, cost of living, wellbeing and digital inclusion.
"Our analysis shows that people in Legatus LGAs are resilient - their sense of overall wellbeing is above the state average. It's important that the federal, state and local government authorities do not take that resilience for granted. We need to do much more for those regional SA residents who are doing it the toughest."