Poverty, in one form or another, is present in almost all countries of the world. Australia is no exception. As per an ACOSS report, there are about 3 million people in Australia who live below the poverty line. Though Australia has a robust social services program, financial aid is not enough to lift people from poverty.
What is poverty?
Poverty has no standard definition. In Australia, poverty is measured as the income of an individual or family against a ‘poverty line’ or by looking at the lack of essential items that are missing due to a lack of income. For example, if the income of a single mother family goes towards food and education, leaving behind little for monthly rent and utility payments. This leads to many challenges- Hunger in Australia, homelessness, addictions, and so on. Poverty is high amongst those under 15 and over 65 years of age. There are many reasons why people end up in poverty, some are beyond their control while others can be attributed to their own follies or other reasons.
What causes Poverty in Australia?
1. Australia’s social security system- Australia’s social security system is inadequate to address the needs of the poor. It uses outdated statistics when calculating the acceptable standard of living and hence gives out inadequate assistance to those in need. For instance, the rates for the Youth Allowance and JobSeeker’s allowance has not increased adjusted to inflation for almost 25 years. On the other hand, living costs have increased dramatically over this time, leading to inadequate income for many people.
2. Underemployment and unemployment- There is a lack of jobs available for those seeking work. Those who do get to work are underemployed- they are working in a job that does not cover all their expenses. According to experts, there is only one job for every 8 people looking for work. Most of these jobs require technical knowledge and education that disqualifies many needy people willing to work.
3. Inflationary pressure- The cost of living and essential services is increasing day by day. Many a time, wages do not increase as per inflation levels, resulting in high debt and poverty. Though many organizations help the poor in Australia, including the Government, more needs to be done to help those in need.
4. Low levels of education- Lower levels of education result in higher levels of poverty. Those jobs that require fewer education levels have a lot of job seekers but few positions. As a result, some people wouldn’t mind working for a lower wage to get by.
4 Facts about poverty in Australia
1. Economic inequality-There is economic inequality wherever you go. In Australia, the rich earn 70 times more than the poor. This gap continues to widen due to inflationary pressures.
2. Indigenous people-Race has to do more when it comes to poverty than anything else. More than 120,000 indigenous people live below the poverty line; they are more than 3 times worse off when it comes to economic disadvantages. Indigenous people make up to 3 percent of Australia’s overall population.
3. Disabled people-People with disabilities are left out when it comes to employment opportunities. A recent study found more than 800,000 disabled people living under the poverty line.
4. Drug users-Those addicted to drugs and alcohol are more likely to live in poverty. In fact, a study showed that almost 40 percent of homeless people were drug addicts.
Solutions to ending poverty in Australia
Though ending poverty can be a difficult proposition, it isn’t impossible. We can get the rich to donate to causes for the poor through a Catholic Donation Center. The Government, on its part,
Can increase the rates for social security payments with supplements for disability or caring for children.
Give a chance to those unemployed for a long time to become ready for work.
Give an adequate minimum wage to reduce poverty amongst the working poor.
Increase access to health, housing, and community services so that disadvantaged can improve their standard of living.
If you are looking for ways to help the poor, you can contact us for more details. We raise funds and resources to help those in need. Even a small $10 monthly donation can go towards helping someone in need.