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Disadvantaged Aussies Living on $17 a Day – Salvos Report

25 May 2016 at 2:32 pm
Lina Caneva
A new Salvation Army report revealed “disturbing new statistics on the level of poverty in Australia”, showing that some disadvantaged Australians are living on just $17 a day.

Lina Caneva | 25 May 2016 at 2:32 pm


Disadvantaged Aussies Living on $17 a Day – Salvos Report
25 May 2016 at 2:32 pm

A new Salvation Army report revealed “disturbing new statistics on the level of poverty in Australia”, showing that some disadvantaged Australians are living on just $17 a day.

“The key findings of a horrific new report paint a bleak picture of what real life is like for Australians on the breadline,” the Salvation Army’s communications and fundraising secretary, Major Bruce Harmer said.

“We cannot keep putting a band-aid on disadvantage. We need serious funding to develop innovative solutions to the complex issues of entrenched poverty.”

Salvos infographicNow in its fifth year, The Salvation Army’s Economic and Social Impact Survey (ESIS) canvassed more than 1,600 clients across Australia.

It found that 68 per cent of clients living in private rental properties or paying off a mortgage, experience extreme housing stress – using nearly two-thirds of their disposable income on housing/accommodation.

Nearly one in five are either homeless or living in temporary accommodation – of these almost one in three previously privately rented.

“What this tells us is that private rentals are not a secure form of housing for those living on the breadline,” Major Harmer said. “One small change to an individual or family’s income, or an unexpected bill or expense can lead to a tenancy being lost and a family becoming homeless.”

The 2016 ESIS report also revealed that family violence was the leading factor in housing transiency.

“We see very clearly from this research that many children are at significant risk of social exclusion because of generational poverty, unemployment and housing instability,” Major Harmer said.

“Having to move, sometimes numerous times a year, affects a child’s schooling, their ability to make and maintain friendships and their confidence.

The report revealed:

  • Respondents affected by family violence were most affected by extreme housing stress. And family violence was the key reason why women (37 per cent) moved in the past 12 months.
  • 64 per cent of respondents who moved due to family violence said their children had to change schools when their family moved.
  • 40 per cent of people who were surveyed had moved house – on average – almost three (2.7) times in 12 months.
  • Nearly one in five (17 per cent) were either homeless or living in temporary accommodation (one in three previously rented privately).
  • 37 per cent of homeless people responding had experienced persistent homelessness for two years (one in 10 had moved six times in the past 12 months).
  • 86 per cent of clients and 58 per cent of households with children reported severe deprivation and went without five or more basic items.
  • Numerous clients lived off just $16.96 a day after housing/accommodation was paid for.
    Some clients – on Newstart – survived off just $15.29 a day after housing/accommodation was paid for.
  • Six out of 10 respondents could not afford an internet connection for their child.
  • One in five could not afford medical treatment or prescribed medicine for their children and two in five could not afford a yearly dental checkup for their child.

“We need leadership and action from all levels of government. The results of this extensive survey of 1632 people are utterly shameful. It shows the real level of struggle taking place in our ‘lucky country’,” Major Harmer said.


Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She was the editor of Pro Bono Australia News from when it was founded in 2000 until 2018.

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  • ForgottenAustralianFamily says:

    Stop taking kids from their parents. Support the parents instead. Treat a family as a whole, do not fracture families. Tearing children from their mothers does not do anyone any good. In our family’s case, taking the children into care, when several alternatives could have been found, led to intergenerational trauma lasting until now and showing no signs of abating. Even though I, as the mother in our family, had a stable childhood. It wasn’t enough to prevent our children being traumatised by what had happened to their father in his childhood. All of us now suffer severe PTSD and struggle financially. We tried, got degrees, spent years trying to advance, but in the end, the trauma of one child being removed from his family has endured into a second and third generation.

  • Annette says:

    This will only get worse until all those struggling band together and do not vote for the major parties. Just to show those parties that we will not stand for drastic cuts to everyone who doesn’t need it. I don’t care who it is…as long as the two L parties see that we are not putting them first.

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