IMO in most Australian cities it's difficult to survive unless you have one of the following:
1. A full-time, permanent job. Not gonna give a $$$ figure, but I think so long as you know you can work 9-5 and you'll get paid at least award wage for that, you can plan around it. Similarly if you own a successful business that you know will pay for itself and pay your rent/bills/utilities...etc.
2. A high-paid consultancy/contracting fee where you're in high demand and basically go around making a LOT, and don't need 9-5 hours in order to make ends meet. That or you own your own business and have a similar situation going on.
3. You have a lot of family/personal wealth that you've either accumulated yourself, inherited or had access to as a safety net. For example you're a 30 something person living in the family's spare 4 bedroom house alone and don't pay rent (i.e. have no outgoing weekly costs aside from your food and entertainment... and can go home for petrol/get dad to fill up the car if you're a bit short).
Unless you're one of the above, IMO you either need to be damn good at planning, accept some welfare or constantly be begging with banks/landlords/housemates because you're waiting for your next (inconsistent) pay cheque.
I've never been on welfare but have been in situations where I'm earning maybe $30k a year and am not guaranteed a pay cheque every week. For example with one company I was 'contracting'... sure! $80 an hour sounds good. That is, until you drive 3 hours to a remote area to be told 'oh nobody turned up today so we can't afford to pay you anything...' RIGHT... no petrol, no lunch money... eff!!! I have $20 in my wallet and nothing in the bank, whaddo I do?!? Then Christmas comes and everybody's excited to go away on paid leave. NUP... no holiday pay and I'm stuck looking for retail jobs. Unfortunately I was in a position where I made enough to not be eligible for welfare/health cards...etc but TBH would have been better off getting a consistent dole cheque every fortnight rather than $3000 one fortnight and $0-$100 the next fortnight.
Full-time work changed everything. Sick days!! Super!! Paid leave!! Certainty that I can stay even if my boss and I have a slight disagreement one day!! I think many forget that this kind of treatment is a luxury for many. Can you seriously plan your life around a casual income of less than $20 an hour with inconsistent shifts that the boss holding your balls tight saying 'work under these conditions or I'll call another casual tomorrow'. In my opinion while one might be able to survive, it's difficult for most to thrive without having basic minimum conditions.
Yes I accept that the more conditions people have, the less willing small/medium (and some large) companies will be to employ people. This is not a reason to get rid of such conditions. IMO if a place can't afford to pay you a wage that you can live off... unless that's the situation from day 1 (and it's a funky/creative startup where you WANT to work and feel that putting in unpaid/low-paid hours might work towards something professionally) then they're better off not employing anybody. If your cafe has casuals who work depending on how many customers you get (sometimes none, so... maybe 3-5 hours a week), how are the casual staff supposed to 1... commit to doing a good job, and 2... live on that kind of money?