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Australia continues to fail our children

Today, the Australian Council of Social Service and UNSW Sydney released the Poverty in Australia 2020 report.

This latest report shows that children continue to experience a higher rate of poverty than the rest of the population, with 774,000 (17.7 per cent) of our children under 15 years of age going without the basics they need to thrive. Changes to the social security system have had a direct and devastating impact on the number of people experiencing poverty in our country. Single parents with children aged eight and over are expected to get by on the woefully low Newstart payment, which sits below the poverty line.

The report shows a consistently high rate of poverty has persisted in Australia over the past decade, driven by the low rate of social security payments, rising housing costs and a challenging job market. Other wealthy countries such as New Zealand are doing more to ensure economic growth benefits everyone, yet Australia is failing to act. Poverty caused by the failures of our social security system pose significant challenges for state-funded child and family services and the parents and children they support.

Our members tell us that:

Almost all the time with the single mothers we support is spent focusing on meeting basic human needs and not on higher goals such as further education, parenting strategies or addressing their children’s emotional needs”

To ensure our children’s rights are upheld and their needs met, the Centre is calling on the Australian Government to:

  • Immediately increase the rate of Newstart, Youth Allowance and related payments by a minimum of $95 per week, without conditions
  • Increase Commonwealth Rent Assistance by $20 per week
  • Raise eligibility for Parenting Payment Single until the youngest child reaches at least high school age
  • Regularly index all payments, including Family Tax Benefit, to wages
  • Abolish the use of punitive compliance requirements, including payment suspensions
  • Commit to a plan to reduce poverty.

Read the full report here:

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