13 Oct 2014

Australia not so lucky for some

7:48 am on 13 October 2014

Poverty is on the rise in Australia, with more than 2.5 million people - and one in six children - struggling to fulfil their daily basic needs, according to statistics.

The Australian flag.

The Australian flag. Photo: PHOTO NZ

The Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) revealed in its latest national poverty report that more than 600,000 children, and one third of children in single parent families, lived below the poverty line.

The report analysed figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics for 2012.

To be considered below the poverty line, a family of four needed to be surviving on less than $841 a week, and a single adult on less than $400 a week, the ABC reported.

The 2014 ACOSS poverty report also revealed more than 40 percent of all people on social security benefits fell below that line.

It also showed women, people with disabilities and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders were among the worst affected.

Australia's peak social services body said the new poverty figures should force a rethink of proposed budget cuts to welfare payments.

"For us to find that we do not have the right policies, the right measures in place for us to turn the tide on the rise in poverty in Australia, is a wake up call for all of us," ACOSS chief executive Dr Cassandra Goldie said.

"We have to take this issue seriously. This is not the idea of if we just have economic growth, then everything will be all right.

"The reality is we need a really strong set of policies and we [need to] know what they are in order for us to make sure that every person - and importantly every child - in Australia has a decent chance to a decent start, and that we are a country that does not need to have one single person living in poverty.

"What we are asking the Governments around the country to do is stop what we seem to be having at the moment in Australia, which is once again a blame game that the problem, if you are living on unemployment (benefits), that you are not trying hard enough."

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