Social Inclusion Report Card Revealed
8 August 2012 at 9:27 am
Australia’s latest social inclusion report card finds that despite national prosperity, not all Australians are enjoying access to the same opportunities, with a significant group of people still missing out.
The newly appointed Chair of the Australian Social Inclusion Board Lin Hatfield Dodds says the Board’s most recent report shows that while Australia is prosperous and faring well compared to other nations a small but significant group of people are still missing out.
Hatfield Dodds said the report, How Australia is Faring, shows homeless people, long-term unemployed Australians, people living with mental illness and other disability or a combination of all these things still struggle to move beyond debilitating disadvantage.
“For the most part, Australians are doing really well,” Hatfield Dodds said.
“So in the middle of the biggest minerals resources boom we've ever seen we as a nation should be able to ensure that everyone has somewhere safe and secure to sleep, that people can find and keep a decent job, that quality education is available to every Australian, and that we can all expect to get basic supports and services when we need them,” Hatfield Dodds said.
“But around 640,000 people, or one in 20 working age Australians, experience multiple and entrenched disadvantage that makes it impossible to engage in a way most of us take for granted.
“Also of concern is Australia’s rising income inequality, and the finding that we continue to have the fourth highest proportion of children living in jobless families in the OECD.
“I congratulate the Government on its commitment to reforms in the areas of homelessness, disability, childcare and education and significant gains have been made. But there is still work to do.
“The Board will continue to work with government, community organisations, business and individuals to realise a vision for a more socially inclusive Australia,” Hatfield Dodds said.
The Australian Social Inclusion Board was established in May 2008 to advise Government on how to achieve better outcomes for the most disadvantaged in the community and report on progress in building a socially inclusive community.
In early 2010, the Board released the first edition of How Australia is Faring, which presented a statistical view of the nature and extent of social inclusion in Australia.
Hatfield Dodds thanked Patricia Faulkner AO, former Board Chair, who was central in driving the development of the report and said she was very positive about stepping into the role of Chair.
“I am looking forward to the opportunity to contribute to Australia’s Social Inclusion agenda as the new Chair,” Ms Hatfield Dodds said.