Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

Rising Cost of Despair

Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

Rising Cost of Despair

Article excerpt

Byline: Christine Harch

aI CAN live on the smell of an oily rag,a disability pensioner Shirleen Gardiner said.

She is just one of the many who are struggling to meet the rising costs of living.

aElectricity is a real problem for me. In summer I get so hot and swell up because of the arthritis.

aAir-conditioning is a luxury but I cannot turn it on until 5pm because I am terrified of the bill.a

Ms Gardiner said her electricity bills last year were about $130 for a three-month period, but the most recent one was $170.

About half of her pension goes on rent and she then puts money aside for phone, power and food.

aWhatever is left over is for petrol.

aMy last electricity bill, I had to phone and ask them if I could pay it over two pensions. Out of one pension I paid half the electricity bill and out of the next I paid the balance and the phone bill.

aNo matter what, I always pay bills.

aAnd there's car rego. Every pension for six months, $38 comes out to pay back the $500 for rego. …

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