YOU'RE $224 better off now than you were in 1984 - you just don't know it.
According to the Income and Wealth report by AMP.NATSEM, Australians' income has risen by at least 22% in the past 28 years.
But the cost of electricity, petrol, rent and public transport has risen by a combined 971%.
Meeting the cost of living in Mackay is a struggle for low to average income earners, Regional Social Development Centre social development director Deborah Rae said.
"You have to consider the situation in Mackay," Ms Rae said.
"The fact is the cost of living in Mackay is very high.
"Reports have shown the costs of some foods are higher in this region and we have to pay more to access services.
"For example, having to travel out of the region for medical specialist appointments; that will incur additional costs."
New residents were also suffering, Ms Rae said.
"People who come to the region don't have the same support (here) as they did (before moving)," she said.
"They have to pay for services like babysitting.
"More people also have to pay for house cleaning or dog walking, because they're too busy."
East Mackay couple Jeff and Trish Fisher said their children were still living at home, partly as a result of Mackay's high rental prices.
"When my first child was born in the '80s it was much cheaper," Mr Fisher said.
"Renting a two-bedroom unit was $200 a week.
"But now it's about $300-$400 (in Mackay). So someone's making a lot of money."
Mrs Fisher said their family's private health insurance payments had risen.
"I've got to pay $250 up front.
"Our 21-year-old daughter is a part of that membership," she said.
PRICE SHIFTS SINCE 1984
- Tobacco has increased by 9.2%
- Medical and hospital bills have increased by 7.2%
- Spirits prices have risen by 4.9% as has fruit and secondary education
- Audio visual and computing equipment has fallen by 8.1%
- Sporting and camping equipment has dropped by 0.12%