The Australian Council of Social Service Poverty in Australia 2016 report was released recently. The report shows that 17.4% of all Australian children are living in poverty (731,300 individuals) across the entire country.

The rate of poverty varies between people living in capital cities and those who live not only rurally, but simply just outside of the capital cities. The risk of poverty is greater outside capital cities, with the rate rising by 2.1% when looking at the income of those living in these areas.

This affects a large amount of people who are living here in Gippsland East. Not only do we often face employment challenges as a community, but we are also situated far from helpful resources that can be limited to capital cities. The majority of those who rely solely on social security payments such as Newstart Allowance (jobseekers), Youth Allowance and parenting payments are categorised as living under the poverty line – by as much as $158 per week below. The poverty line is determined as $426.30 a week for a single adult (50% of median income) for a couple with two children it is $895.22 a week.

Analysis over the past decade has indicated an overall trend of persistent and entrenched poverty country-wide – including a 2% increase in child poverty from 2004 to 2014. This trend is the most pronounced when looking at children in lone-parent families. The majority of those who lived below the poverty line relied on social security as their main source of income, but a significant portion received wages as their main income – proving that not all employment offers sufficient income to keep people above the breadline. However, unemployed households experienced poverty at the highest rate of all the population group, at a rate of 63.2%, and those in the rental housing market suffered a further setback, with the vast majority (59.7%)  living below the poverty line, compared to 15.5% of homeowners.

> Read the full Poverty in Australia report <