Marginalised Living on $18 a Day - Salvos
27 May 2015 at 1:26 pm
Marginalised Australians are surviving on as little as $18 a day, according to figures released in a new report by The Salvation Army.
The frontline welfare Not for Profit has called for a shift in the Government’s social policy as it now estimates that a staggering 2.5 million Australians live below the poverty line. This includes over 600,000 children.
Describing its findings as alarming and extraordinary, the Salvos said of the 2,406 people surveyed, on average people had just under $18 a day to live off – to buy everything they needed after their accommodation expenses were paid.
“The $18 a day would need to cover expenses such as food, health, medical, clothing, education, entertainment and utility costs,” the report said.
The Salvos 2015 Economic and Social Impact Survey (ESIS) report reveals “a bleak picture of entrenched and persistent poverty for a significant proportion of people who access Salvation Army services”.
A large sample size of over 2,400 people – who visit 262 Salvation Army centres across the nation – were involved in the study.
The report said the majority of children in the survey experienced multiple levels of deprivation, with 60 per cent of them missing at least five items considered normal and necessary for a child in an economically advanced country like Australia.
56 per cent of respondents said their financial situation was worse than last year. Most people surveyed were aged between 25-59 years.
The report calls for “a further shift in social policy direction led by the Federal government to address the causes of persistent and chronic disadvantage across our communities”.
The report also revealed:
- 87 per cent of adults and 60 per cent of children reported severe deprivation – and went without 5 or more essential items in life
- Due to massive financial hardship, 75 per cent of respondents had cut down on basic necessities, 57 per cent had gone without meals and 59 per cent were unable to pay utility bills or had delayed them
- 78 per cent of respondents in private rental housing experienced extreme housing stress
- Of the 2,864 children represented in the survey, 65 per cent of parents were not able to afford out of school activities
- 62 per cent of parents could not afford an internet connection and 34 per cent could not afford to give children fresh fruit or vegetables daily.
“Our biggest question for the Australian community is ‘How can we expect people to continue to live like this?’ We are deeply alarmed at the results of this survey,” Major Bruce Harmer from The Salvation Army said.
“The Salvation Army is concerned that issues around poverty and deprivation are often reduced to questions of a job or welfare crisis. The foundations of a virtuous and worthy society are social inclusiveness, adequate support for those who are disadvantaged, personal safety and the ability for all members to engage fully in society.
“Respondents in the ESIS 2015 survey indicated that their situations have not changed significantly. They felt isolated and excluded from the mainstream community. However, they reflected a desire to have the opportunities and experiences the rest of the community had, such as employment opportunities, adequate housing and the ability to provide for their families.
"Many experienced significant barriers to achieving these basic outcomes and breaking the cycle of poverty. For those seeking employment, many faced challenges entering the workforce and sustaining long-term employment.
“The majority of respondents said a lack of relevant skills and experience, current physical and/or mental health issues, and parenting or caring responsibilities were barriers preventing them seeking employment.
“Entrenched poverty and persistent disadvantage are complex social issues. Without sufficient financial investment from Governments and the community to adequately fund support services, the situation for disadvantaged individuals is likely to remain unchanged or further deteriorate.
“These findings compel The Salvation Army to continue to advocate for these individuals, and work to alleviate the burden of social and economic disadvantage at every level.”
Statistics show that in a typical week The Salvation Army provides 100,000 meals for hungry people, 2,000 beds for homeless people, distributes up to 8,000 food vouchers, provides refuge to 500 victims of abuse and much more.
The full 2015 Economic and Social Impact Survey is available online.