'Tis the (busy) Season
It’s that time of the year, we are rapidly heading into the busy holiday season. It’s going to be a little bit different this year due to the lingering effects of Covid, but life in South Australia is relatively back to normal... almost.
For many South Australians, the Christmas pageant marks the start of the Christmas season. This year the event will be held at Adelaide oval for the first time with a focus on people celebrating the #PageantatHome
For lots of us there are many events and end-of-year celebrations. If you have children there will be end of school activities, performances and school holidays to think about. It gets busy for most of us and it can be stressful.
Christmas can also be a difficult time for many people. Spare a thought for your elderly neighbour who lives alone, your friend who is experiencing financial hardship, your relative who is going through a separation or your co-worker who is struggling with depression.
If you know someone who finds this time of year especially difficult, consider reaching out to them to show that you are thinking of them. As the Grinch said,
“It came without ribbons, it came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags. Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
If you or someone you know finds this time of year especially difficult, services such as Lifeline are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week to take your call.
The way we generate and use electricity is changing!
“The state once known for not having enough power has become the first major jurisdiction in the world to be powered entirely by solar energy.” - https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-10-25/all-sa-power-from-solar-for-first-time/12810366
What does it mean for you as we transition to renewable energy? Will electricity get cheaper?
The short answer is yes, over time. There are also steps you can take right now to decrease the amount you are paying for power.
As a customer, you have rights and responsibilities determined by law to help protect you in your dealings with energy retailers and distributors.
Choosing a Provider
Energy Made Easy is a free Australian Government energy price comparison service for households and small businesses, that can be used to find and compare electricity and gas plans.
You can choose your energy retailer and contract type and can compare the range of energy offers available using the Energy Made Easy price comparison service or by calling 1300 585 165.
There are many energy plans available. When you're considering which one to choose, think about price, but don’t forget things like:
- how long you have to sign up for
- other special deals (these might be called 'incentives' or 'benefits').
There are other things that may impact your energy plan, for example, did you know that when you use energy might affect how much you pay for it?
Some plans may also depend on whether you:
- have a smart meter
- want your energy to be good for the environment (these might be called GreenPower plans)
- have a solar energy system
- live in the city or a regional area.
The less energy you use, the less you pay for
Do a home energy audit to see how you are using energy in your home and try some easy energy saving tips to cut down on your energy use. Calculate your appliance running costs to see how different appliances in your home contribute to your energy bills.
- In summer, keep cool by closing windows, doors, curtains and blinds.
- In summer, try to use fans instead of air conditioners, and if you use your air conditioner, set it to 26°C.
- In winter, reduce draughts by closing windows, doors and curtains.
- Set central heating to 18°C.
- Put in LED lights and turn them off when not needed.
- Switch off appliances at the wall – some appliances keep using energy if you don’t do this.
- Make sure there is plenty of space around your fridge.
- Check that the fridge seals keep the doors firmly closed.
- Make sure the fridge isn’t too full.
- Cover pots and pans to reduce cooking time.
- Wait until the dishwasher is full, then put it on.
Bathroom & Laundry
- Use cold water for washing.
- If you prefer to use hot water, set it to 60°C.
- Wait until the washing machine is full, then put it on.
- Use a clothes line instead of the dryer.
- Put in low-flow shower heads – ask at your hardware store.
- Have shorter showers that are no more than four minutes.
Useful sites to help you understand your energy use:
- Home Energy Audit: https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/energy-and-environment/using-saving-energy/home-energy-audits/do-a-home-energy-audit
Help paying energy bills
You may also be able to access either temporary or ongoing financial help with your energy bills.
If you are overwhelmed and need to discuss your options, the Affordable SA helpline can help point you in the right direction:
- Call the Affordable SA Helpline on 1800 025 539
Utilities Program Listings
There are a number of 'Utilities' programs listed on our site that may be of interest also:
Foodbank just released its 2020 food insecurity report
This report is unlike any previous Foodbank Hunger Report as it presents a picture of food insecurity in the midst of a once-in-100-year crisis.
COVID-19 is having a profound effect on every aspect of people’s lives, so it is not surprising that it is impacting the food security of Australians. This report looks at how COVID-19, and the responses of governments, businesses and individuals to the pandemic, are affecting the ability of people to have food for themselves and their families.
World Food Day
FAO celebrates World Food Day each year on 16 October to commemorate the founding of the Organization in 1945. Events are organized in up to 150 countries across the world, making it one of the most celebrated days of the UN calendar. These events promote worldwide awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and for the need to ensure healthy diets for all.
This year, World Food Day 2020 marks FAO’s 75th anniversary during a very exceptional time as many countries are dealing with the widespread effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. World Food Day should as a result be considered as an opportunity to call for global cooperation and solidarity to help all populations, and especially the most vulnerable and build back better. It is also an occasion to sensitize the public on how everybody has a role to play in transforming our food systems by changing the way we produce, transform, consume and waste our food.
Be the Boss is a free 3 week course to help you get on top of your money for good.
Be the Boss
A series of short videos and action plans that can help get you through these challenging times.
This is designed as 3-week course, but you can just dive in and use the ones you need.
This online course can help you:
- work out what’s important to you;
- what changes you need to make; and
- how to turn those good intentions into action.
Be the boss of your money!
Please reach out to the free financial counselling service at Moneycare if you are looking for someone you can trust to have an important money conversation.
This year, during ‘Anti-Poverty Week’ (October 11-17), The Salvation Army’s Moneycare is running events across the nation to help everyday Aussies get on top of their finances.
As part of Anti-Poverty Week, Wednesday October 14 is The Salvos National ‘Moneycare Day’.
Moneycare is The Salvos free and confidential financial counselling service, offering in-person or phone assistance to anyone in South Australia.
Sharon Maslen, Program Manager Financial Counselling Services South Australia, is encouraging anyone looking to improve their financial situation to reach out to their local Moneycare for support, utilise the free online resources, or participate in the free webinars running every day during Anti-Poverty Week (12-16 October).
The theme of this year’s event will be ‘Disasters don’t Discriminate’, with The Salvos seeing the devastating financial impacts of the year that has been, from bushfires to the economic turmoil of COVID-19.
“We have seen in the past 12 months the wide-ranging impacts that these disasters have had. They haven’t only impacted the most vulnerable in society but have reached people who never thought that they would ever find themselves in financial hardship. The Salvation Army is encouraging anyone who needs a hand with their finances to get help early, and reach out to a Moneycare financial counsellor,” Sharon Maslen said.
To access the online resources or to register for the free financial coaching webinars taking place at 12.00 noon (AET) each day and 2pm on the Tuesday and Thursday of Anti-Poverty week (12-16 October), visit https://www.salvationarmy.org.au/get-involved/anti-poverty-week/
The free, 20-minute webinars will help you to master your money essentials, covering topics such as buying your dream car, how to track your money, insurance, navigating loans and getting your finances back on track.
In an average year, The Salvos Moneycare offers financial services to over 13,000 people, helping with financial coaching, counselling, debt help and providing no-interest loans*.
Sharon Maslen said, “This year, particularly as government subsidies begin to scale back, The Salvation Army is anticipating a soaring demand to present to our services, including Moneycare. This is why early intervention is so important, to avoid this avalanche of need to come.”
Of particular concern is the impact of payday loans and rent deferrals, which have been increasingly used during the pandemic, and have potential for severe consequences in the long term.
“People often turn to payday lenders when they are in a time of financial crisis, which has been the case for so many this year through COVID-19. Moneycare financial counsellors can be powerful advocates on your behalf if you are in debt. If anyone has been stung by payday loans, or is considering obtaining one, reach out to Moneycare. We are here to help,” Sharon Maslen added.
For more information or to contact The Salvation Army’s free and confidential Moneycare service, please visit https://www.salvationarmy.org.au/get-involved/anti-poverty-week/ or call the Moneycare Intake Service Line: 1800 722 363
Anti-Poverty Week is a National event, happening from the 11th to the 17th of October 2020.
During the week surrounding the UN’s International Anti-Poverty Day on 17 October, individuals, communities, organisations and governments are encouraged to act to address poverty, through research, discussion and a multitude of other activities.
During these unprecedented times, it is more important than ever to support those in the Australian community who are struggling the most. The health and economic impact of COVID-19 is hitting marginalised people and communities the hardest. We know that for many people being sick can make your poor and being poor often makes you sick.
Unemployment has doubled as a result of the COVID-19 induced shut-down, affecting many people who may never have needed support as well as those who were already out of work or didn’t have enough work before the bushfires and pandemic hit. In August 2020 there were at least 12 people receiving DSS unemployment payments for every job advertised on the internet.
Poverty in Australia
In Australia, the poverty line is generally defined as 50% of median household income.
This was $457 a week for a single adult, $731 for a sole parent with two children or $960 for a couple with two children in 2017-18.
The ACOSS/UNSW Poverty in Australia 2020 report found:
• In Australia, there are more than 3.24 million people or 13.6% of the population living below the poverty line. That includes 774,000 children or more than 1 in 6.
• Many of those affected are living in deep poverty – on average $282 a week below the poverty line.
Growing up in poverty impacts the hopes and dreams of young people.
How many children are living in poverty in Australia?
774,000 children or 1 in 6 Australian children aged 0-14 years lived in poverty in 2017-18 (the latest available data). At 17.7%, the percentage of children living in poverty is higher than the percentage of any other age group – including those aged 65 years and over.3
Poverty & Housing
Poverty puts pressure on people – it’s constant and strong. If the pressure builds up, people can be pushed into homelessness. We can relieve the pressure on people’s lives by creating affordable housing and helping people get decent jobs. We can also help people withstand this pressure by strengthening our social welfare system and ensuring all payments stay above the poverty line. We can end homelessness and increase housing affordability. Investing in social housing is both the right and smart thing to do.
Poverty & Work
While ‘paid employment can be a route out of a state of disadvantage, it does not guarantee an absence of recurrent disadvantage as some jobs, particularly low-skilled jobs, are low-paid and hours of available work not assured.’
968,000 people or 38% of the 2.6 million people living in poverty (excluding self-employed people) came from households where wages were the main source of income.
Poverty in Rural & Regional Australia
More than 4 in 5 people agreed that nobody deserves to live in poverty and that Australia should be a country that looks after those in need. People in rural and regional Australia have even stronger empathy than those in metropolitan locations. Nearly two thirds of people in rural areas said that there are no differences between them and those experiencing poverty, compared with just over a half of people living in metropolitan areas.
Poverty & Disability
Just under 2 of the 5 Australians living in poverty have a disability (739,200 or 38% of the nearly 2 million adults Australians who are living in poverty).
1 in 6 people with disability were living in poverty, compared with just over 1 in 10 Australians without disability.
The World Bank states that ‘Poverty is hunger. Poverty is lack of shelter. Poverty is being sick and not being able to see a doctor. Poverty is not having access to school and not knowing how to read. Poverty is not having a job, is fear for the future, living one day at a time. Poverty is losing a child to illness brought about by unclean water. Poverty is powerlessness, lack of representation and freedom.
Lack of income is not the full story – living in poverty can mean limited access to safe water, good schools, health care, stable and clean housing, and electricity. Where 1 in 10 people live in extreme poverty, it is estimated that 1.3 billion people live in multi-dimensional poverty. For example, the number of people living in households without access to electricity is far greater than those living in monetary poverty. Hence, poverty is not solely linked to finances - it also can include sanitation, housing, and proper education.
With Anti-Poverty Week coming up and the South Australian government making recent announcements about changes to the delivery of homelessness services in South Australia, now is a good time to look at homelessness in South Australia.
South Australia has an enviable standard of living and quality of life. However, a lack of housing security for some individuals and families can compromise their health, safety and ability to engage in social and economic activity.
South Australia praised for supporting the homeless during coronavirus pandemic but long-term solution needed
Nearly 400 people — including rough sleepers — were housed in hotels and motels across Adelaide after the pandemic began.
Future Directions for Homelessness in SA
The State Government has committed to working with its partners to reform the homelessness system, to get the best outcomes for people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness.
The reforms aim to provide better services that:
- prevent people from falling into homelessness
- ensure people get the right support they need, when they need it
- rapidly rehouse people into safe, stable and long-term housing so they don’t cycle in and out of homelessness
Find out more here: https://www.housing.sa.gov.au/our-housing-future/future-directions-for-homelessness
If you are homeless or at risk of homelessness, contact the SA Government services below (24 hours, 7 days):
- Homelessness (including families) phone 1800 003 308 (freecall from a landline)
- Domestic Violence and Aboriginal Family Violence phone 1300 782 200 or 1800 800 098 (freecall from a landline).
Affordable SA has listings for Accommodation, Housing and Homelessness with a range of programs for people in all kinds of situations:
If you are overwhelmed and need to discuss the options, the Affordable SA helpline can connect you with the help you need:
- Call the Affordable SA Helpline on 1800 025 539
There are winners and losers in the 2020 Budget. This years budget has been defined by the coronavirus pandemic.
If you are struggling with finances and bills, need help putting together your own budget, there are a range of organisations and people that can help. Have a look at our listing of money and finance services: https://www.affordablesa.com.au/programs/money-and-finances
You can also call our helpline on 1800 025 539 to get help to find the right services for you.
ABC Budget Coverage
The ABC has had excellent, comprehensive coverage of the 2020 budget, here are a few highlights and articles about how this years budget could affect your budget:
Tax cuts were revealed in the Budget — here's how to make yours work for you
Many of us are going to have a little extra cash in our pockets this year. It's all because of the tax cuts and $500 cash payments announced in this year's Federal Budget.
The Treasurer wants us all to spend up big to help pull the economy out of recession, but is that the best option for your financial situation?
Here are five ways to get the most out of your money.
- Don't impulse spend
- Consider saving it (in a high-interest account)
- Pay off those debts
- Put it back into your super
- Invest it
Who's eligible for the $250 payments?
There are cash payments totalling $500 which are available for over 5 million eligible recipients. It's not just pensioners.If you receive any of the following payments or if you hold any of the following healthcare cards, then you're eligible:
- Age pension
- Disability Support Pension
- Carer Payment
- Family Tax Benefit, including the Double Orphan Pension (but not in receipt of a primary income support payment)
- Carer Allowance (but not in receipt of a primary income support payment)
- Pensioner Concession Card (PCC) holders (not in receipt of primary income support payment)
- Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders
- eligible Veterans' Affairs payment recipients and concession card holders
When will they be paid out?
The first payment of the two will start being paid out from November. And the second part is due to follow in March 2021.
Will the payments be taxed?
No, the payments won't be taxed. They also won't count as income support for the purposes of any income support payments.
Federal Budget 2020: Winners and losers
We asked what Australians thought of this year's Federal Budget. Most people thought there were some big gaps
Child care, domestic violence, science jobs and the unemployed: What do women get in the Federal Budget?
Budget tax cuts tipped to boost household saving rather than lift us out of COVID recession
South Australia stung with $1.3 billion GST write-down in 2020 Federal Budget
It’s school holiday time and there’s plenty of opportunities to get your kids out and about without breaking the budget. With the restrictions put in place for social distancing being lifted and the weather starting to warm up again, it’s a great time to get out and explore South Australia.
In order to inspire you and get you thinking about the possibilities, we’ve listed a selection of cheap and free activities for children to experience across South Australia.
Some of the best places to find low cost activities for young children during the holiday season are your local Public Library, Community Centre and Community Gardens. From Lego construction and fun craft activities to gaming and learning new tech. There are a host of school holiday programs to keep the kids minds engaged or at the very least amused.
As there are still some social distancing restrictions in place, please check booking requirements carefully and book early to avoid missing out.
If we’ve missed a great, low cost activity or location, let us know about it on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
South Australian Museum
- Always a fantastic place for the family to explore! The SA Museum is one of the most visited museums in Australia and holds collections of national and international significance.
MOD at UNISA
- Visit a futuristic museum of discovery. Explore the current exhibition: SEVEN SIBLINGS FROM THE FUTURE
Art Gallery of South Australia
- The Art Gallery’s collection comprises almost 45,000 works of art and design, featuring an extensive Australian collection – including works by Aboriginal and South Australian artists – contemporary art, and European and Asian collections.
St Kilda Adventure Playground
- The playground offers many attractions including a huge castle with slides and a draw bridge, a bouncy boomerang, flying fox, pirate ship, a large Volcano with multiple slides, a basketball court, swings and more.
Botanic Gardens of South Australia
- The Botanic Gardens of South Australia comprises three beautiful public gardens – Adelaide Botanic Garden (and Botanic Park) in the city, Mount Lofty Botanic Garden in the Adelaide Hills and Wittunga Botanic Garden in suburban Blackwood.
Public Swimming Pools
- With the weather warming up, it's a great time to go swimming! Here's a great listing for indoor and outdoor public pools:
- For the adventurous, here's 8 ocean pools you can visit in South Australia: https://www.environment.sa.gov.au/goodliving/posts/2019/04/ocean-pools
Holiday Fun Fair (Sept 25 – Oct 5)
- Are you missing the excitement and fun of the sideshows, rides and showbags of the Royal Show? If you said yes, you might like the Holiday Fun Fair being held in Bonython Park. Featuring a range of children’s rides, thrill rides, show bags, sideshows, and food trucks, Mix 102.3 Holiday Fun Fair is the place for the whole family.
- Tickets are $3 per person, children under two-years-old are free. Tickets must be pre-booked and purchased on the Mix102.3 website.
- Plan ahead and budget carefully as rides and showbags can be expensive.