Poverty is real, and here

In the Poverty in Australia report released last year, Australian Council of Social Service and the Social Policy Research Centre calculated that 2,265,000 people (12.8 per cent of the population) were living below the poverty line in 2010. This includes 575,000 children or 17.3 per cent, which by any measure is an indictment on a country as wealthy as Australia. The most alarming aspect is that this level of poverty is in spite of 20 years of strong growth that has made most Australians better off.

ACOSS has consistently pointed out that the problem lies with the very low rate of allowance payments such as Newstart, which have been frozen in real terms since 1994, while overall household living standards have increased by about a third.

This is precisely the reason why ACOSS, joined by business groups, unions and many economists, has been calling for Newstart to be lifted from the current level of $35 a day ($250 a week). The Business Council of Australia has said that the rate is so low that it’s become a barrier to work. Three separate Senate inquiries over the past two years have acknowledged that allowance payments are inadequate, confirming that the payments are not enough to meet the most basic costs such as housing, food, clothing and, importantly, basic job search costs.

Read more at http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/opinion/poverty-is-real-and-here/story-e6frgd0x-1226808987621#


18 thoughts on “Poverty is real, and here

  1. Yes, I agree. On $250 a week, you couldn’t afford to buy a computer and pay for internet access, which you need for most job applications these days. You could go to the library, but many of them only allow you to be on for an hour at a time. I wonder if Centrelink allows clients to use computers and internet there. I’m picking not.


  2. That largely depends on whether you can separate your needs from your wants, Caron.
    Around here y’can buy reconditioned PCs for about $40 (or often pick one up from the hard-garbage piles on the nature-strip), and I have a virtually unlimited internet connection for $30 per month, which is also a wireless system, so there are no line-rental costs. I use a VOIP phone which gives me unlimited ‘standard’ calls for 9 cents each, and calls to mobiles (the biggie) for 20 cents per MINUTE. (Never USE a mobile phone.) Similar usage with Telstra used to cost me around $600 a month.

    …. Groceries and other ‘stuff’ is as cheap as you can get anywhere due to competition (five supermarkets within about 300 metres down at the bottom of the hill), and y’can still buy a sound (if not pretty) house for between $120k and $145k. With a small deposit that amounts to mortgage repayments of about $135 per week. (Who do you know that can RENT a backyard dunny for that amount?) .

    Other than that, the best (cheapest, virtually all bulk-billed) medical services anywhere, a great environment ‘twixt the snow-fields, lakes, and rolling hills down to the coast, and all less than 90 minutes from the Opera House.

    But it IS an ‘undesirable’ area and people who’ve never experienced it steer way clear of it. If you come across any needy people who actually WANT an opportunity point ’em to me.

    ps I don’t waste resources, but neither do I stint, and I doubt I’d spend more than about that $250 pw. (including bills, rates, rego., etc.)
    When I was on a Centrelink payment (some years ago now) I was living reasonably well and still banking about 20% of what they were giving me. It’s all in the organisation, and I suspect that education/assistance in THAT area warrants the application of more effort/funds


      • Yep. There are always options. eg. If a street-dweller wants a warm bed-and-breakfast all he/she needs do is chuck a brick through a police-station window.

        But living with others isn’t one that would suit me, under the more usual circumstances. But there are a couple of possibilities available for the (very particular) right person, if you know anyone.


    • One of my nephews who is studying, would be considered to be in the bracket of poverty, but he is living with 5 other friends and they share expenses.

      This is not to say that there are not genuine people who have fallen into bad times i.e. due to illness, a family member bankrupting them, disability


      • That’s true (“genuine people who have fallen into bad times) ; but a lot of it still gets down to priorities and choices. People have been conditioned to have expectations (backed up PC-driven laws, etc.) that would prevent any sensible person from getting involved.


      • It’s a local company, so everything’s done on a personal basis. And I think I signed on for 5gig. , and usually don’t use that much. But other times I can use heaps (downloading movies, etc.) and have never been billed for it.
        Early in the piece, if you used more than what you’d paid for, they’d automatically but you up to the next-higher ‘plan’ (an extra $5) just for that month. Local service 24/7, cheap components video-drives/printers, etc, all on a friendly basis with people you know.


    • “and y’can still buy a sound (if not pretty) house for between $120k and $145k. With a small deposit that amounts to mortgage repayments of about $135 per week. (Who do you know that can RENT a backyard dunny for that amount?) “.

      Trouble is you can’t get finance unless you have surety or income. Even Habitat, which relies on self help to build homes for those in need, insist on the person having a job.

      Ridiculous, when the rental being payed is already higher than the repayments would be.


      • Needing to have a job makes sense; but it should be remembered that these days NOBODY has a guarantee of being employed beyond the next week, so other methodologies should be explored by all concerned.
        The general sense I get is that the 20% deposit demanded by the banks is a bigger bugbear. (The contemporary ‘system’ is geared to allow spending on all sorts of crap abut leave nothing extra to salt away ~ And while that was always the case, a work-for-life environment AND MORE RATIONAL PRICES, made mortgages a reasonable
        prospect. (and wages/price/interest-rates were fixed by law.)

        The other big factor is the interference by the industrial/government conspiracy which generates endless rules that create monopolies and so not only drive prices to absurd heights but reduce options to almost zero.

        Try finding an ‘authorised’ builder/plumber/electrician/etc who will build anything but an overpriced and UGLY McMansion-style dump, with specs THEY insist upon in an area dictated by industry/government.
        That ‘style’ and methodologly has conditioned people into believing that’s what they need…and therefore want ~ and nothing less will do.

        Owner-builders (which provided my start) have been virtually ‘outlawed’ by the red-tape machine, and the idea that migrants ( like the millions who turned up in the 1950s) could save and buy a block of land (quarter-acre in Bayswater for about one-third of a year’s minimum-wage) and build whatever house they could afford ~ and live in a shed in the meantime ~ wouldn’t even be believed as a fairy-tale these days.
        But that’s the way it was ~ and usually there were no services, so you made-do. (My old man took 10 years to finish building his house ~ illegal these days of time-restraints) .And since everybody was more or less in the same boat people helped each other in all sorts of ways, often without even being asked ~ instead of complaining about the eyesore next door or the effect on local ‘property-values’. *

        Everybody knew it would eventually work itself out, because back then you built or bought a ‘home’: a permanent place to raise a family, not as an ‘investment’ so’s you could ‘play’ the property market.

        Not a McMansion in sight, but the only homeless person I ever knew as a kid was a swaggie who deliberately CHOSE that lifestyle; and even he never went hungry.
        We’ve built a world out of bullshit ~ and the saddest thing about it is that even the people most-detrimentally effected are among the loudest supporters of it.

        The TV tells them that they, too, can get rich ‘playing’ the markets, in a week, without really trying.

        *ps.. My old man did a deal with the state school over the road to keep the grass down for free. Bought a cow and had her grazing over there: milked her twice a day and gave the excess away. (What went around came around.)
        One year the Council by-laws officer ( who lived up the road) told him it was illegal to grow his spuds on the ‘nature-strip’ (on a dirt track!).
        So the following year he grew his spuds in the backyard…… and planted cabbages and pumpkins on the nature-strip. ….and the chookshit from his 30-or-so chooks didn’t smell all that bad.
        Everybody praised his initiative ~ including the by-laws officer ~ and not another word was said.

        The point is that there’s still scope for that sort of initiative if one is prepared to go where the opportunities are: but the conditioned-in attitudes and ‘values’ are powerful anchors ~ physically and mentally.

        It’s hard to have much sympathy for people who wouldn’t even consider the concept of ‘take up they bed and walk’.


      • Brilliant Dabbles. It’s true, red tape is a deliberate roadblock to independance.

        Your dad sounded like a good man. Reading about him growing vegies in the nature strip reminded me of one of my sisters who did the same. She has a couple of raised beds on the nature strip and has an assortment of vegies there (don’t know if it’s allowed). She was trying to initiate a community vegie growing/sharing culture.


  3. I was wondering what the poverty line is in Australia.

    “While talking about poverty line in Australia we should keep one factor in mind that as Australia is a developed nation the notion of poverty is significantly different than the Third World countries. According to the World Health Organization the people whose income is not sufficient to fulfill the basic needs of life fall under the poverty line. However such situation is almost non existent in Australia so the measure of the poverty line is based on relative terms. Like families who has an income lower than the other families in Australia are considered poor. Most of the students of Australia fall below the poverty line. The other groups of people who live under the poverty line of Australia are the aboriginals. The researches have also declared Australia as an unstable society as the rich are getting richer and the standard of the poor are declining constantly.

    Officially there is no parameter to measure poverty in Australia. Sometimes different organizations and research groups make an effort to measure the poverty line. The Life Expectancy at birth is a good parameter to the judge the poverty line. According to the Human Development Report life expectancy in Australia is 78.9.

    The poverty line is related to the income of the country. The measurement of the poverty line also changes with the rise in income of the community. The standard of living might be stable but the cost of living might change the value of the poverty line.

    The standard of the indigenous Australian are not as well as the white Australians. The life expectancy rates are low, the unemployment rate is higher and the infant mortality rate is also high. ‘Absolute poverty’ is a reality among the aboriginals residing in Australia. Though there are government measures to uplift the situation and root problem has not been solved yet.



  4. “…fulfill the basic needs of life fall under the poverty line.”
    Like a 3-meter TV, Macca’s five nights a week and a foxtail for the aerial of the Valiant, d’you mean? 🙂


    • That’s the thing. Nobody is saying that there aren’t people out there who genuinely need help and Welfare is there for them – but I do think it is abused much more than people will admit.


  5. I remember reading about a person in the 7th century that used to work for a Jewish man for 7 dates a day. When he earned 7 dates he would stop. He turned down anymore work. The reason was that 7 dates was enough for him to live off in a day. Our lives are so complicated now.


  6. It amazes me that so many people can say “I succeeded without help, so everyone else can.” Usually they will concede that some with obvious disabilities need help. They know little of what hidden disabilities some really have. And they don’t take into consideration their own benefits, which can include genetic background.

    There is also another force operating other than free will. You might call it luck, fate, karma, or God’s plan for your life. Whatever, and however good it may be for our souls, it can be pretty rough.

    It may be well to remember that “There but for the grace of God, go I.”

    But you won’t do that of course if your amygdala is more active than your anterior cingulate cortex .


    “To summarise, the ACC region of the brain is more relevant to analytical thinking and to processing data. As the article says: “When there is a flow of ambiguous information, the ACC helps to discern whether the bits of info are relevant or not, and assigns them value.”

    “The amygdala, in contrast, is more concerned with memory and emotion. It is activated as part of the “fight or flight” response, and associated with anger and fear. (Interestingly, men have much more prominent amygdalas than women do, which is apparently related to the production of testosterone.)”

    A helpful link in another vein.



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