Low saving levels 'no surprise'

REVELATIONS that almost 40 per cent of Tasmanian households have less than $1000 in savings are no surprise to Tasmanian charity organisations.

An ME Bank report published this week showed the percentage was higher than any other state or territory, and well above the national average.

Salvation Army communications and fund-raising secretary Craig Wood said the figure was not a case of people not wanting to save, but was instead reflective of saving being extremely difficult.

Captain Wood said the effects of rising costs of living were becoming increasingly obvious in Tasmania.

"Between 30 and 35 per cent of Tasmanian households rely on government pensions as their principal source of income," he said.

"Living costs have risen beyond the capacity of these payments."

Captain Wood said about a third of those who visited the charity in the past 12 months had done so for the first time.

"We're beginning to see people who are newly unemployed as well as those on government payments or minimum incomes who can no longer make ends meet," he said.

Captain Wood said financial strain had a huge impact on families.

"Usually it's the most immediate things people see in front of them that they think can be pushed aside," he said.

"Parents sometimes go without eating, bills remain unpaid and individuals might fall out of work because they don't have enough money to fix their car."

Anglicare Tasmania statewide financial counselling co-ordinator Anthony Plisek said he expected the number of Tasmanians with little or no savings to be higher.

"When this part of the community suffers, we hear about it," he said.

"People are going from week-to- week, pay-to-pay, and are in a lot of trouble."

Mr Plisek said some people were looking for quick fixes to their financial woes.

"When payments can't be made, some people are turning to high- risk solutions like pay-day loans and gambling," he said.

"It immediately puts them into complications with their debts."

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