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Many people in Australia struggle to afford the energy they need for their wellbeing. This report investigates the scale of the problem of energy stress and identifies policy implications. The authors find that over the period 2006 to 2020 around one in five Australian households were in energy stress. Moreover, energy stress is much higher in specific groups such as people with a chronic health issue or disability, renters, low-income workers and people on the JobSeeker payment. This has important implications for policy development.

Key findings:

  • Over the period 2006 to 2020, 18–23% of households in Australia experienced at least one form of energy stress
  • Low-income households are vulnerable to energy stress
  • The amount of income matters. Inadequate income support leaves recipients at greater risk of energy stress
  • Renters are particularly vulnerable. Non-private renters (public and community housing tenants) have the highest rate of energy stress
  • Energy stress impacts people with chronic health conditions or disability


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