People across the Illawarra will be hundreds of dollars worse off under the two budgets introduced by the Abbott government, independent new modelling shows.
Some of the region’s worst-hit households will be those that can least afford it.
Although the changes will produce some winners nationally – mostly in salubrious suburbs in Sydney and Melbourne – all 24 recorded areas between Helensburgh and Nowra emerge financially worse off.
The biggest hit is in the Berkeley/Warrawong/Windang area, where the average household will lose $555 in the 2018-19 financial year, the analysis shows.
For Berkeley pensioner Helen Harrison, who shops for food at Warrawong’s Hope Centre Food Barn and is reliant on a lift in a friend’s car, the sum represents 12 weeks of groceries.
Mrs Harrison said she had $45 left over each week after she paid essentials including rent (in the private market), bills and food for her two dogs.
The independent modelling was proof that ‘‘the rich get richer and the poor get poorer’’, she said.
‘‘Try and live on $90 a fortnight and see if you’re not disillusioned,’’ she said.
‘‘People can’t really have enjoyment out of life when they have that little.’’
The modelling is the work of the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM) and was not commissioned by a political party.
Mapped this week by Fairfax Media, it produces a picture of winners and losers drawn largely along socio-economic lines and – with nine out of the 10 worst affected suburbs in Labor-held seats – political allegiances.
Nowra and Albion Park/Macquarie Pass households would lose an average of $429 and $383 respectively. The modelling shows losses of $339 in Albion Park Rail, $335 in Dapto/Avondale and $310 in Warilla.
At the other end of the local spectrum, Kiama, Thirroul/Austinmer/Coalcliff and Berry/Kangaroo Valley lose $62, $97 and $104 respectively.
The modelling takes into account the financial impact of every policy change from the last two years, including the abolition of the carbon tax, the petrol excise increase, the new childcare package and changes to the aged pension.
The results match budget modelling with data from census records, including data on income distribution, unemployment figures and family make-up.
The figures are for the 2018-19 financial year, when most policies will have come into effect.
Ben Phillips, principal research fellow at NATSEM, said the removal of the carbon tax favoured well-off households that tended to have a bigger carbon impact.
Cuts to Family Tax Benefit Part B accounted for much of the financial loss recorded in areas with a high number of low-income families, he said.
He suggested the cuts affecting lower-income households amounted to an austerity measure and were at odds with the government’s economic growth targets.
‘‘Low income families tend to spend a higher proportion of their income,’’ he said.
‘‘Where you’re reducing payments that go to these families ... it tends to have a negative impact on the economy.
‘‘These are suburbs that are least likely to handle these impacts – they’re low income but also tend to have high unemployment and a high percentage of people who don’t speak English, with lower education status.
‘‘It’s all good and well to say they can go and get jobs, but not in a region that has high unemployment.’’
Mr Phillips defended the modelling against claims from the office of Treasurer Joe Hockey, who told Fairfax the results failed to show the economic benefits of helping Australians move back into work.
‘‘We’ve used all the same assumptions as [are in Mr Hockey’s] budget, so the same employment and unemployment rates. His own forecasts suggest unemployment will remain at six per cent and participation rates unchanged,’’ he said.
Gilmore MP Ann Sudmalis opted not to comment when contacted late on Friday.