Tackling Poverty -Opportunity Squandered
21 October 2002 at 1:10 pm
Governments have squandered the opportunities offered by Australia’s decade of economic growth to effectively tackle poverty in this country- that’s the message from the Brotherhood of St Laurence on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty last week.
Brotherhood of St Laurence Executive Director, Father Nicolas
Frances, delivered the Brotherhood’s annual Sambell Oration, at
The University of Melbourne.
The speech, titled ‘Making Australia a Poverty Free Zone’, called for the creation of at least 300,000 new jobs to help tackle poverty in Australia and challenge the ‘spin’ around the benefits of Australia’s economic performance.
Fr. Frances said Australia’s economic performance is regularly hailed as
‘miraculous and world-beating’. So how is it that we can have nearly
a million children living in families with no adult in the workforce?
He said our governments have wasted the opportunity to create benefits
for all Australians from a decade of economic growth. The
unemployment rate remains high, the long-term unemployment rate has
remained constant for five years and most jobs growth has been in
the more precarious realms of casual and part time work.
He said over the last decade, for instance, only 280,000 full time jobs
have been created. And there are 800,000 people, either in
part-time work or unemployed, who say they want a full time job.
Father Nicolas Frances called on the Federal Government to:
· create around 300,000 jobs to impact on Australia’s unemployment
and growing inequality.
· concentrate these jobs in early years education, caring for sick
and older people and repairing environmental damage.
· target the creation of entry-level jobs in these areas for
people who are unemployed and under-skilled.
The Sambell Oration, named after former executive director, Geoffrey Sambell, has been held annually since 1981.