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More families than ever in major struggle to make ends meet

Captain Mark Williamson
Captain Mark Williamson Eloise Handley

ONE in eight Aussies are living in poverty, a new study has found, and the Southern Downs is no exception.

Captain Mark Williamson of the Warwick Salvation Army said he was not surprised by the high figure and saw evidence of it happening here, now more than ever.

"There are cases of genuine need throughout the Southern Downs region (and) we are continuing to see more and more people seeking assistance from us," Mr Williamson said.

And it's not just the one demographic who are struggling.

"Certainly there are those perennial clients, but we're seeing more and more people who we have never seen before that are seeking assistance," Mr Williamson said.

While the majority of Salvation Army support clients rented their home, Mr Williamson said it was scary to see a lot of home owners now joining the list.

"Ten years ago we would never have seen a home owner come in, but now we are seeing people struggling to make mortgage repayments and it's this changing face of poverty," he said.

The Australian Council of Social Service released a report that showed children were often the most affected in financially-strapped homes.

"This report reveals that despite years of unprecedented growth and wealth creation, we have made little ground in combating the scourge of poverty with one in eight people overall and one in six children living below the poverty line," ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie said.

She said the figures made the Federal Government's recent cuts for sole parents "all the more disturbing".

Dr Goldie was adamant there were ways to combat the poverty issues plaguing the nation.

"We need to see more investment in wage subsidies and training for people who are long-term unemployed to make a difference to their job prospects," she said.

"We also need urgent action to ease housing cost pressures.

"A wealthy country such as ours can and should do better to ensure that everyone is afforded an adequate standard of living - it is a fundamental human right."

 

Poverty

ACOSS Report key findings:

  •  12.8% of Aussies living below the poverty line.
  •  63% of people in unemployed households are below the poverty line.
  •  62% of people below the poverty line come from households with social security as their main source of income.
  •  The proportion of people in poverty rose by one third of a percentage from 2003 to 2010.

Poverty line: The poverty line is calculated as a proportion of disposable income of a 'middle income' household.

Topics:  cost of living, family, mark williamson, poverty, salvation army, social services, study


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