The 2012 Salvation Army survey into the economic and social impact of cost of living paints a grim picture of life in Australia right now.
Even people with jobs and regular benefit payments are struggling to make ends meet. They can’t pay bills or send their kids to after school sport. And in the worst cases are forced to go without food and prescription medicine to keep their heads above water.
This is a modern crisis. And it’s growing. According to the Salvos the number of people relying on their charitable services increases every year. As the saying goes, thank god for the Salvos. But just how sustainable is this band-aid approach to financial stress?
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I recently attended the opening of the Templestowe Community Bank in my electorate. As a result of more than two years hard work by local traders and residents, the village has a bank for the first time in over a decade.
The branch was the 248th to open under the Bendigo Community Bank umbrella, one of the great local success stories of the past decade across Australia.
As the big banks closed their branches, and forced people to use ATMs and online services, many local communities lost an important institution. In some rural areas, this was devastating. In most, it caused considerable inconvenience to local residents.
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