Deep & Persistent Disadvantage in Australia
11 July 2013 at 11:21 am
A Productivity Commission Staff Working Paper has found that while there has been strong economic and income growth in Australia some people continue to experience deep and persistent disadvantage.
The authors of the Productivity Commission Staff Working Paper on Deep and Persistent Disadvantage, Rosalie McLachlan, Geoff Gilfillan and Jenny Gordon, found there was no single agreed way to define and measure disadvantage. Nonetheless they say it is clear that disadvantage is about 'impoverished lives', rather than just low income.
“People who are more likely to experience deep and persistent disadvantage include lone parents and their children, Indigenous Australians, people with a long-term health condition or disability, and people with low educational attainment,’ the paper said.
“Most people who become disadvantaged are able to move out of it relatively quickly, but a small group remain disadvantaged for extended periods of time. Between 2001 and 2010, just under 3% of Australians aged 15 years plus experienced deep social exclusion for five or more years and just under 1% for seven years or more.
Of particular policy relevance, the authors found that:
- a child's early years are fundamental to shaping their life chances
- education is a foundation capability — it improves a person's employment prospects and earning capacity, and can lead to better health, improved life satisfaction and higher levels of social engagement
- employment is the route out of disadvantage for most people of working age.
- Disadvantage is a multi-dimensional concept. It is about 'impoverished lives' (including a lack of opportunities), not just low income. Poverty, deprivation, capabilities and social exclusion are different lenses to view and measure disadvantage.