Anglicare Report Reveals Family Hardship
1 June 2012 at 5:17 pm
A new Anglicare Victoria report has found that single parents on parenting payments are sacrificing their own health so they can afford to heat the family home and put a good meal on the table each day.
The finding is part of Anglicare’s annual Hardship Survey that monitors trends in material deprivation among its clients.
Anglicare Victoria Chief Executive Paul McDonald said a review of welfare payment levels was urgently needed.
“The families on our lowest income levels are having to make tough choices on life essentials that most others would find abhorrent. Health or heating, sustenance or schooling,” said McDonald.
“We need to recognise that whilst Australia has one of the highest costs of living we have one of the lowest rates of income support assistance. With 500,000 children a part of these family units, this poverty circumstance is now having an intergenerational impact on life choice,” he said.
Families were forced to cut back spending on children’s education, according to the report, with a quarter of survey participants unable to afford up-to-date schoolbooks and uniforms.
The survey also found that 55 per cent of single parent participants who were living on Parenting Payments as their main form of income could not afford to visit the dentist while 27 per cent were unable to afford medical treatment to improve their poor health.
Of the 187 participants of the study, the most common source of income was the Disability Support Pension (31 per cent) followed by the Newstart Allowance (25 per cent).
Anglicare Victoria supports recommendations by the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) for a $50 per week increase in the Newstart allowance and improved indexation of allowance payments generally.