Australians facing financial distress could receive more support as the government boosts funding for frontline services.

With the cost of living crisis exacerbating demand for support, emergency relief organisations, financial counselling and other hardship services will be given an additional $115 million over the next five years.

Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth says the funding will help Australians with electricity bills, rent, fuel and medicine.

“We are seeing …more people with complex issues needing support, as many different kinds of Australian families and households grapple with the ongoing challenges of the last five years,” she said.

The money will be added to a government grant program which provides support to eligible Australians by partnering with community organisations.

Some offer free services to improve budgeting and financial literacy skills, others give crisis support and material aid like food.

Data released on Tuesday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics found retail spending fell 2.7 per cent in December as Australians attempted to save amidst high interest rates and surging rents.

Though the government’s amended tax cuts are aimed at providing hip pocket relief to lower and middle income Australians, social service advocates and the Greens say the help cannot stop here.

The Australian Council of Social Service has suggested the government increase the rate of JobSeeker to $78 per day, while Greens leader Adam Bandt vowed to “fight for more” for lower earners.

Kat Wong

(Australian Associated Press)

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