Vic crisis causing financial stress

The financial fallout of the second wave of the coronavirus in Victoria has been felt Australia-wide, according to the latest statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

According to the Household Impacts of COVID-19 survey in mid-August, fewer Australians expected that they would be able to pay household bills received in the next three months, compared to when the question was asked in mid-June (before the explosion of case numbers in Victoria).

The survey was conducted in mid-August, at a time when daily new cases of coronavirus in Victoria led to stage four restrictions in the state and extra caution across Australia.

Australians also reported feeling less able to raise $2000 within a week for something important in mid-August than was the case in mid-June.

One in seven Australians reported that their household was unable to pay one or more selected bills on time over the past 12 months due to a shortage of money.

While the majority of Australians (87 per cent) reported that their household expected to be able to pay bills received in the next three months, that figure was down from 94 per cent in mid-June.

In mid-August, 77 per cent of Australians reported that their household could raise $2000 for something important within a week, but that figure was down from 88 per cent in mid-June.

One in eight Australians (13 per cent) said they were receiving the coronavirus supplement in mid-August with people aged 1864 more likely to report receiving it than those aged 65 years and over (14 per cent compared with 6 per cent).

Feelings of anxiety and depression because of Victoria’s second wave were also being shared across the country, according to the ABS data.

“While Victoria has experienced the greatest surge in recent cases of COVID-19, our latest Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey showed that the effects on how Australians are feeling are country-wide,” said ABS head of household surveys Michelle Marquardt.

“In fact, the mid-August results were consistent across Australia with no significant differences reported by people in Victoria when compared to the rest of Australia.”

With all of Australia seeming to be feeling Victoria’s pain, both financially and emotionally, the positive news is that the case numbers continue dropping and Premier Dan Andrews will on Sunday announce a roadmap out of stage four lockdown.

On Tuesday, Premier Andrews announced that that roadmap would actually be two roadmaps, one for regional Victoria, which is currently only in stage three lockdown and has seen case numbers reduce significantly, and a separate road map for Melbourne.

“We believe that given the low case numbers it will be possible for us to have different settings in regional Victoria, and a different timeline and road map compared to what will be essential in metropolitan Melbourne,” Mr Andrews explained.

“On the basis that the virus is presenting in very different ways and at very different levels in regional Victoria compared to metro Melbourne, there may be some things allowed in regional Victoria that won’t yet be allowed in metro Melbourne.

“It’s about a steady and safe easing out of these rules and then finding a normal that we can lock in for many, many months.”

How have your finances held up during August? Do you expect to be able to pay all of your bills in the coming months? Could you raise $2000 within a week if you needed it?

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Ben Hocking
Ben Hocking
Ben Hocking is a skilled writer and editor with interests and expertise in politics, government, Centrelink, finance, health, retirement income, superannuation, Wordle and sports.
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