Most people support lifting incomes for those with the least

Three-quarters of people in Australia support an income boost for people with the least while less than a quarter think it’s possible to live on the current JobSeeker rate, new research by ACOSS and UNSW Sydney shows. The latest report from the Poverty and Inequality partnership, Community attitudes towards poverty and inequality 2023: Snapshot report, also shows 74% think the gap between wealthy people and those living in poverty is too large and should be reduced. The survey of 2,000 adults in Australia shows most people (62%) think government policies have contributed to poverty, while 75% think it can be solved with the right systems and policies. More than two-thirds (69%) think poverty is a big problem in Australia Just 23% agreed they could live on the current JobSeeker rate Another 58% said they would not be able to live on that amount, while 19% were unsure Three-quarters (76%) agree the incomes of people earning the least are too low and should be increased Most people…


Sharp jump in wealth inequality over last 20 years

The gap between those with the most and those with the least has blown out over the past two decades, with the average wealth of the highest 20% growing at four times the rate of the lowest, new research by ACOSS and UNSW Sydney shows. The latest report from the Poverty and Inequality Partnership Inequality in Australia 2023: Overview, shows that wealth inequality has increased strongly over the past two decades. From 2003 to 2022, the average wealth of the highest 20% rose by 82% and that of the highest 5% rose by 86%, leaving behind the middle 20% (with a 61% increase) and the lowest 20% (with a 20% increase). The overall increase in wealth inequality over the period was mainly driven by superannuation, which grew by 155% in value due to compulsory savings property investment. Contrary to the public image of ‘mum and dad’ property investors, investment housing is very unequally shared: the wealthiest 20% hold 82% of all investment property by value. The report also shows that the…


New report highlights depth of poverty for people on income support

People who are unemployed, people receiving income support, renters, sole parents, women, children and people with disability are at highest risk of poverty, while those on Youth Allowance experience deepest poverty, according to Poverty in Australia 2023: Who is affected, released today by the Poverty and Inequality Partnership led by ACOSS and UNSW Sydney. The depth of poverty experienced by people on income support payments is severe. Households relying on Youth Allowance are in the deepest poverty, with incomes on average $390 per week below the poverty line. People in households relying on JobSeeker were $269 per week below the poverty line, and people in households relying on parenting payment were $246 per week below the poverty line. By payment type, 60% of people receiving JobSeeker Payment and 72% of people receiving Parenting Payment live in poverty, compared with one in eight (13%) people and one in six children (17%) in poverty overall, based on the latest available data…


New research shows ‘pernicious effects’ of removal of Coronavirus Supplement

A new report from the Poverty and Inequality Partnership led by ACOSS and UNSW Sydney has found that while the Coronavirus Supplement introduced in 2020 gave recipients the breathing space to afford basics such as food and medication, its removal had a pernicious effect that hit hard. Australian experiences of poverty: risk precarity & uncertainty during COVID-19 found the extra $275 a week from April 2020 was critically important to improving wellbeing during the pandemic. The qualitative research study, based on phone interviews with 33 income support recipients, revealed the payment provided a reprieve from ongoing financial stresses and allowed recipients to plan for their future for the first time. But when the supplement was first reduced from September 2020 and then abolished in April 2021, participants were forced to return to acute financial stress and experienced increased feelings of exclusion. Report authors Professor kylie valentine, Dr Yuvisthi Naidoo and Dr…


One in eight people in Australia are living in poverty

One in eight people in Australia, including one in six children are living in poverty, a new report released on the eve of Anti-Poverty Week has found, as cost of living pressures continue to put households under strain. As many as 13.4 per cent of the population (or 3.3 million people) and 16.6 per cent of children (or 761,000 kids) were living below the poverty line in the first year of the pandemic (2019-20), according to the Poverty In Australia 2022 report by the Australian Council of Social Service and UNSW Sydney, using the latest available data from the ABS. The study also revealed people in poverty are falling further behind the rest of society, with their average weekly incomes dropping to $304 below the poverty line. The report found that temporary income supports introduced during COVID lockdowns in 2020 – the Coronavirus Supplement and Economic Support Payment - pulled 646,000 people, including 245,000 children, above the poverty line. Those new supports almost doubled…


The Wealth Paradox - wealth inequality and the housing crisis

A new report being launched today by the ACOSS/UNSW Sydney Poverty and Inequality Partnership, The wealth inequality pandemic: COVID and wealth inequality confirms that even though Australians are now, on average, the fourth richest people in the world, the distribution of our wealth remains hugely unequal. Our overall household wealth has grown as much in the last 3 years as it did in the previous fifteen, despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the recession in 2020, thanks mainly to the soaring cost of residential properties across the country during that same period. Soaring housing prices and their impact Over two-thirds (69%) of the overall increase in household wealth during the pandemic was in residential property, which rose in value by 22% through the year to December 2021 - the highest annual increase in 35 years. Rising house prices increase the divide between people who bought their homes when they were more affordable, and younger people and those on low and modest incomes who…


Housing affordability takes a hit - regionally and globally

A new report from the ACOSS/UNSW Sydney Poverty and Inequality Partnership shows that regional rents are now 18% higher than 2 years ago, at the start of the COVID 19 pandemic. Given that wages have only risen by 6%, the report concludes that regional rental housing affordability has significantly worsened during the public health crisis. Every Australian capital city and regional area has seen rent rises during this crisis period far in excess of wage increases or CPI-linked payment adjustment, with the exception of Sydney and Melbourne. State-level figures show that the situation for regional renters in Tasmania and Western Australia is particularly difficult because of even larger housing cost increases. The report, COVID 19: Housing market impacts and housing policy responses – an international review compared the experiences of Australia and seven other case study countries – Canada, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Spain, the UK and the US. It found that all followed similar paths…


New ACOSS and UNSW Sydney Report shows how poverty and inequality were dramatically reduced in 2020, but have increased ever since

A new report from the ACOSS/UNSW Sydney Poverty and Inequality Partnership shows that during the first ‘Alpha’ wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Australia halved poverty and significantly reduced income inequality, thanks to a raft of Commonwealth Government crisis support payments introduced to help people survive the first lockdown. It also highlights that over the course of 2021, and throughout the spread of the ‘Delta’ variant, the Federal Government rapidly reversed this extraordinary progress by cutting financial aid and denying it to most people on the lowest incomes. The latest report from ACOSS and UNSW, Covid, inequality and poverty in 2020 & 2021: How poverty and inequality were reduced in the COVID recession and increased during the recovery examines how people at different income levels fared during those two phases of the COVID-19 Pandemic. During the first ‘Alpha’ wave of the pandemic, the Coronavirus Supplement and JobKeeper support payments played a crucial…


States' housing step-up no substitute for federal action

New research by the ACOSS/UNSW Poverty and Inequality Partnership shows renters on low and modest incomes are in the grip of a housing pincer, especially in regional Australia, as surging rents and the Commonwealth’s neglect of social and affordable housing creates acute stress. The report notes that while some States have recently increased their investment in social housing, they simply lack the financial firepower to make up for a decade of neglect. Four state Governments (Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia) have announced significant self-funded public housing construction programs as a component of post-pandemic stimulus investment, providing an investment of nearly $10 billion over the next few years. While these programs will add over 23,000 badly needed new homes to the stock of public and community housing over the next four years, more than 155,000 households are registered on social housing waiting lists across the country with more than 400,000 households…


Sole parents and unemployed face poverty as nation surges ahead

The income gap between people without paid work and sole parents, and the broader community is widening, according to a new study tracking income support over two decades. Australian Income Support Since 2000: Those Left Behind, will be launched today by the ACOSS/UNSW Sydney Poverty and Inequality Partnership to mark Anti-Poverty Week. The report notes median household incomes have grown 45% since June 2000 with Age and Disability Support Pensions almost keeping pace. “People receiving unemployment and single parent income support payments have been badly cast adrift,” said Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO of ACOSS. “Those doing it toughest have been held further behind, making it that much harder to look after their health and families, as well as participate in the workforce. “Apart from the brief period when the Coronavirus supplement was paid, the performance of the income support system during this period of robust economic growth has left whole groups of people further and further…