HH has no problem accepting that the Federal Labour Government Minister can live comfortably on this amount and we have a good idea to help.
We have a group of Indigenous people offering her a spot in a bedroom (the Minister will have to contribute to rent) in a small community just outside of Alice Springs in Central Australia.
She will know the place well as the house being offered is a three bedroom house, recently upgraded by the Minister's national housing program. Currently 10 people live in this house and pay $320 a week rent to the NT government. The Minister's contribution will be around $32 a week. No maintenance has been done on any of the houses in the 2 years since tenancy agreements were signed and rent paid. ( A quick call from the Minister may help here?)
The Minister will have to help with power bills and the cost of the power is almost double that of city power. She should allow $5 a day to buy a power card from the shop and insert this into the meter. Meter readers don't visit Indigenous communities to read meters and send bills, you must pay for your power in advance.
In the house the shower doesn't work but the next door neighbour has a working shower and is happy to share. The kitchen stove and sink don't work either so cooking a meal is tricky but take away food is available at the shop between 10am and 3pm. It's expensive so go easy on the fried chicken legs and coke. (allow around $20 for 2 meals a day). Add $5 a day for buying bottled water as the community water is not potable at the minute (some problem with the bore and the NT government power and water authority have no money to maintain the water source) and it is hot this summer.
There is no furniture in the house offering the Minister accommodation, so she'll need to bring a swag and some bedding but should be able to borrow those at no cost (maybe from NT Federal Minister Snowden?). Washing the sheets may be tricky as the laundry hasn't worked since the upgrade of the house when the water pipes were disconnected by mistake. (Well this is Australia and for a $75,000 house upgrade you can't expect the shower, laundry and kitchen to work ... fair go!)
It was around 45C yesterday and the houses are a little warm, around 50C inside the house. The upgrade works removed all the privately owned air conditioners (installed previously by the tenants) to reduce power consumption. A great green house gas reduction idea but the Minister better take a solar powered fan and some sunscreen.
A trip to Alice Springs, to collect the Newstart money, will cost around $50 sharing a ride with community people, if the car is working.
So all up, only about $257 of the $246 payment money available has been spent. (...think of this as a deficit not a lack of money)
We told you this was a good idea!
The Minister can spend the remainder (?) on phone calls to her press officer, personal items and those little luxuries you need in the central desert.
Happy New Year and great thanks to Moir of the Sydney Morning Herald 4/1/13