With the household cost of living climbing, social affairs advocates have voiced their hot ticket items ahead of the looming federal election.
TasCOSS chief executive Adrienne Picone said affording the essentials had become increasingly difficult for Tasmanians in the last year, with housing, health, transport, education, and recreational costs all rising at a rate exceeding general wage increases.
"TasCOSS is looking to the next federal government to pull every lever at its disposal to tackle poverty and inequality in our state and support Tasmanian households struggling with rising cost of living pressures during these testing times," she said.
Ms Picone called on the Commonwealth to raise income support payments to at least $70 per day, to help Tasmanians cover basic costs and live with dignity.
"Tasmania has a higher proportion of people receiving income support payments, resulting in more Tasmanians than ever finding it impossible to afford rent, food, healthcare, keep a car on the road and pay for other essentials," she said.
Council of the Ageing chief executive Sue Leitch also raised limited access to general practitioners, cost of medication and primary healthcare services as a growing expense.
The sentiment was echoed by St Vincent de Paul acting chief executive Les Baxter, who said benefit payments had not kept pace with the cost of living.
"The basics of life - food, fuel, rent, [and] heating as winter approaches ... are driving more people into poverty and through the doors of charities to close the gap between what they need to survive and what they have to live on," he said.
Dr Baxter said the federal government's tax offset strategy did not help those on low incomes or benefits.
The offset pays up to $1080 per annum to people earning less than $126,000 - but for Dr Baxter, the devil is in the detail.
"[It] sounds great until you realise it is 'up to' $1080 for people earning less than $126,000," he said.
"If you are one of the estimated 120,000 Tasmanians living on the poverty line, which is $426.30 a week for a single adult and $895.22 a week for couple with two children, you are not going to be earning $126,000 a year, and even if you were, $1080 is $20.77 per week."
Dr Baxter said an extra $20.77 per week would get Tasmanians nowhere.
"How is a family on a low income supposed to factor in this type of cost increase for a basic items - food, fuel, and a roof over their head - when wages have remained static?" he said.
Tenants' Union of Tasmania principal solicitor Ben Bartl said raising income support would help people maintain tenancies.
With a recent Real Estate Institute of Tasmania report finding rent had increased by $50 per week in Launceston in 2021, while vacancy rates were low, more Tasmanians have been pushed into rental stress.
Ms Picone called for a 50 per cent increase to the Commonwealth Rent Assistance payment, as well as investor incentives that would bring more private housing stock into the long-term rental market.
Mr Bartl said although rent controls were state issued, much of the social housing funding came from the Commonwealth. He said the federal government could tie funding to states introducing rent controls on the private market.
"Many tenants are in rental stress because they are spending at least 30 per cent of their income on rent and some are having to choose between keeping a roof over their head or putting food on their table," he said.
On the buying end, the same REIT report found Launceston's house prices had climbed by 23.4 per cent in 2021.
Mr Bartl said with first home buyers priced out of the market, they were renting for longer and reducing rental stock.
"Capital gains tax and negative gearing should be reformed so that there is less speculation in the property market, putting downward pressure on house prices and making more homes available for first-home buyers," he said.
Both Mr Bartl and Ms Picone called for investment in energy efficient homes.
The Tenants' Union of Tasmania estimated at least 45,000 state rental homes did not not meet health energy efficiency ratings.
Mr Bartl said mandating minimum energy efficient standards would ensure healthier homes and lower power bills.
Ms Picone wanted to see the Commonwealth work with state government to fund an energy efficiency upgrade program for existing homes of Tasmanians on low incomes, and to establish minimum energy efficiency standards for rental properties.
Employment and education were also flagged as election issues.
Disability Voices Tasmania acting chair Emma Bennison said employment was a frequently raised concern within the disability community.
Australian Bureau of Statistics data indicates only 53.4 per cent of working aged people with disability were employed in Australia in 2018.
"[People with disability] are still locked out of employment because employers assume it is too costly to make workplace adjustments and that people with disability are unreliable," Ms Bennison said.
"In reality, employers who employ staff with disability say their businesses benefit significantly from the diverse perspectives people with disability bring to workplaces."
Ms Leitch said older women were particularly vulnerable because they were more likely to have experienced significant gaps in work due to caring responsibilities, and to have worked in casual or part-time roles.
Ms Picone called for a telecommunications concession to support those on low incomes access data services, and funding for community skills and education programs. She said it was important to provide people with skills and confidence to navigate such services.
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