Australian Government Addresses Economic Inequality and Poverty
With three million citizens living under the poverty line, Australia is in desperate need of government action to assist the economically downtrodden. The rise of child poverty is at the forefront of the poverty-related issues that the Australian government is currently addressing.

Among the millions of impoverished Australians are approximately 730,000 children who are not receiving necessary education, housing or financial stability. Thus, the Australian government is focusing on improving the nation’s current poverty situation.

According to Labor Leader Bill Shorten, tackling rising economic inequality is a “defining mission” of a future Labor government. With this in mind, the Australian government is working with hope and opportunity rather than frustration and fear.

Australia is in its 17th year of running the Household, Income and Labor Dynamics in Australia Survey (HILDA), which is a longitudinal study that provides important insight into the life courses of Australians.

Although HILDA has found that many households that experience poverty over a 10-year period only suffer poverty for about one or two of those years, about three percent of Australia’s population is living in persistent poverty. This percentage of the population is a great focus of Australian government assistance.

Additionally, HILDA shows a common theme between education and poverty. As expected, those who receive more education from higher quality institutions receive higher paying jobs while those who are not as educated tend to live below the poverty line.

When families fall below the poverty line, it becomes increasingly difficult to afford childcare and education for their children, which leads to a full circle of improper education and a lifetime of poverty. Single-parent families are at an extreme threat of poverty as one wage is unable to cover the doubling costs of childcare.

About 10 percent of the Australian community is at risk of poverty. In single-parent families, this number grows to about 20 to 25 percent. Since 2012, child poverty in single-parent families has increased every year.

By living in poverty, these children are unable to receive the same care and education that children from two-parent households are receiving, which puts them at a setback later in life.

The Australian government has recognized the suffering of these children, and immense efforts are getting put into protecting the welfare and economic assistance to families living in poverty.

Kassidy Tarala

Photo: Flickr