Almost 18 per cent of Australian children live in poverty, amid fears “the next generation is set up for failure,” due to rising housing costs and stagnant income support, The Age reports.
More than 13 per cent of Australia’s overall population – or about 3.24 million people – live below the poverty line, according to an Australian Council of Social Service and University of New South Wales report. About 774,000 children under 15, or 17.7 per cent of Australian children are in poverty.
“We want to support each other. It’s who we are as a nation. But our economy is leaving people behind, with persistently high poverty rates despite decades of uninterrupted economic growth,” ACOSS chief executive Cassandra Goldie said.
Dr Goldie said Australians living in poverty include young people trying to start their working lives, single parents and older people who came up against age discrimination.
The ACOSS/UNSW ‘2020 Poverty in Australia Overview’ report set the poverty line at 50 per cent of the median household disposable income. It used 2017-18 data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics – the latest year for which household income information is available.
It found that housing costs grew “strongly” in the decade to 2017, especially among low income households.
The report also said that the “freezing” of the dole, which has not seen a rise in real terms since 1994, together with the transfer of some single parents from the Parenting Payment to the lower Newstart Allowance, “increased poverty and the depth of poverty”.
Welfare groups, including Mission Australia, Anglicare and the St Vincent de Paul Society used the report to call for an urgent increase in social housing, rent assistance and income support payments.
“The next generation is set up for failure,” St Vincent de Paul national council chief executive Toby oConnor said.
Poverty and Inequality / ACOSS