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In December 2022, New South Wales and Australia experienced the highest inflation in the last 30 years. Over the 12 months to June 2023, the costs of essential goods and services increased by 6.9 per cent in Sydney,134 with the cost of gas, electricity, insurance, travel fares, childcare and food increasing significantly (see Chart 5.1).135 The cost of essential spending accounted for 58.5 per cent of household expenditure nationally in 2022.136
Although the rising cost of living impacts everyone, women as a cohort are likely to be more impacted than men because they are paid 11.8 per cent less than men on average.137 Rising prices, especially for essential items, mean women spend a greater proportion of their income on everyday living expenses, thereby reducing their disposable income and savings. This can negatively impact their immediate and long-term financial security and broader quality of life.
Chart 5.1: Percentage change from previous year, selected items, Sydney
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics 2023, Consumer Price Index, June Quarter 2023
In a 2023 survey of 7,000 women, 59 per cent reported that their mental health had worsened due to rising costs of living, with young and middle-aged women living in regional areas particularly impacted.138 Almost one in three women (31 per cent) reported not seeking help for their worsening mental health because they could not afford it.139
The NSW Government is committed to providing targeted cost-of-living support to the people of New South Wales. To help ease the impact of rising electricity costs, this Budget will provide eligible low-income households, pensioners, self-funded retirees, families, and carers with up to $500 towards their electricity bills. Eligible small businesses will also receive a payment of up to $650 towards their bills. Further relief will be provided for eligible families, seniors and low-income households in 2024-25.
This Budget commits $170.8 million to increase the employee share of tax savings derived from salary packaging arrangements from 50 to 70 per cent for more than 50,000 healthcare workers (who are disproportionately women). This measure is intended to boost take-home pay and improve retention rates.
To support families with the cost of ECEC, the NSW Government will continue to provide $4,220 per year in preschool fee relief for 3-to-5-year-olds in community and mobile preschools, and $2,110 per year for children aged 4 and above in eligible long day care settings.
In addition, the NSW Government will trial $500 preschool fee relief for 3-year-olds in eligible long day care centres effective January 2024, which will support up to 64,000 children and their families
Over the year to June 2023, according to Sydney CPI, rents increased by 7.3 per cent and new dwelling prices increased by 9.1 per cent.140
As at May 2023, the median weekly rent was $723 for Sydney and $549 for regional New South Wales.141 A woman living in Sydney earning the average female full-time weekly pay of $1,697.00 would need to spend 42.6 per cent of her gross weekly pay on rent,142 if she is able to find a rental given the vacancy rate is 1.4 per cent.143 A man in Sydney earning the average male full-time weekly pay of $1,924.80 would need to spend 37.6 per cent of weekly pay on rent.144
Data from CoreLogic’s analysis on the gendered pattern of home ownership shows that in New South Wales, sole-female ownership accounted for 30.6 per cent of the sampled housing stock and sole-male ownership accounted for 33.7 per cent, highlighting a 3.1 percentage point gap.145
Table 5.1 below highlights the gender disparities in the time taken to save for a 20 per cent deposit on a unit or a house in Sydney and New South Wales.
Table 5.1: Time to save for housing deposit for females and males
Years to save for deposit
|Median House, Sydney||$1,360,000||$272,000||15.4||13.6|
|Median House, rest of NSW||$726,000||$145,200||8.2||7.3|
|Median Units, Sydney||$822,000||$164,400||9.3||8.2|
|Median Units, rest of NSW||$571,000||$114,200||6.5||5.7|
Source: CoreLogic 2023, Hedonic Home Value Index, September 2023.
*Note: This figure is calculated based on the assumptions of an individual saving 20 per cent of his/her weekly pre-tax income, using Australian Bureau of Statistics 2023, Average Weekly Earnings Australia, May 2023. Since the earning figure is before-tax, the actual time taken to save for a deposit will likely be higher.
The rising cost of housing is particularly challenging for single women, single mothers and people experiencing domestic and family violence (67.2 per cent of whom are women146). Higher rents and lack of affordable housing can lead to women becoming homeless.147 It can also result in some domestic and family violence victim-survivors remaining with abusive partners.148
The NSW Government is establishing Homes NSW and a $224.0 million Essential Housing Package to deliver better housing outcomes for public and social housing tenants. The Package will deliver more affordable and social housing, and support people experiencing homelessness in New South Wales.
The NSW Government will appoint a state-first NSW Rental Commissioner to examine how to make renting in New South Wales fairer, more affordable and more secure. It will also implement a Portable Rental Bonds Scheme.
Supporting access to home ownership is a priority. The expanded First Home Buyers Assistance Scheme will support first home buyers with a transfer duty exemption for purchases up to $800,000, and a concessional rate for purchases above $800,000 and less than $1 million.
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