Debbie Muscat, 47, recently secured a pay rise after year and years of a stagnant wages. Still, despite the increase Ms Muscat struggles to make ends meet.
“I’m single, have one income and I live pay check to pay-check. In the last month, once I paid rent and registration, I couldn’t eat,” she said.
The problem according to Ms Muscat is simple – wages are not going up with the cost of living.
“All the bills keep going up but my wages certainly have not.”
Ms Muscat is a teacher’s aid in Rockhampton, in central Queensland.
Ms Muscat considers herself one of the lucky ones, as amongst her colleagues she is one of the few who have a set number of work hours.
“I have a permanent 26 each week. That means they cannot take them away from me. I know what I’m taking home,” she said.
And it isn’t just those in the workforce who are finding the cost of living a struggle.
Ms Muscat pointed to her retired parents who are living on the pension.
“My parents only retired 4 years ago and its lucky they own their own home,” she said.
“Just today mum told me she had to put meat back on her grocery shop because she couldn’t afford it.
“They want us to go out and support local businesses but people can’t do that, not with stagnant wages.”
Ms Muscat said she would be giving her vote to whichever party promised to put working Australians ahead of big business.
“The rules have to change,” she said.
“Our forefathers fought for this– we shouldn’t be fighting for it again”.