Inability to cool homes in summer heat making almost 90% of Centrelink recipients ill, survey finds
(The Guardian, 23 Feb 2023) A third of those polled said they had sought medical care for heat stress while others who had air conditioning avoided using it due to cost of electricity.
Nearly 90% of people on income support payments say the inability to cool their homes in hot weather is making them sick, and even those who have air conditioning avoid using it because it is too expensive, a survey by Australian Council of Social Service has found.
Acoss polled 208 recipients of Centrelink payments in January about their experience of high heat at home, their ability to cool their homes, how the heat affected their physical and mental health, and the costs of their energy bills.
Nearly two thirds of those surveyed – 72.1% of whom were renting privately or in social housing – said they were unable to cool their homes down in periods of hot weather.
Some 89.4% said they sometimes or always felt unwell in the high heat, while 29.8% said they had needed to seek medical care for heat stress, with elderly people or those living with disability worst affected.
Nearly 70% of people surveyed had air conditioning of some form in their home, though many reported it did not function well or only lowered the temperature in one part of the house. Some 94.5% of people with air conditioning said they avoided using it because it cost too much.