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…


Poverty gaps

This graph shows the average poverty gap for all households in poverty from 1999 to 2019. It is in 2019 dollars, and using the 50% median income after-housing costs poverty line. The higher (red) line shows poverty gaps measured using the pre-2007 ABS income definition, while the lower (dark blue) line is based on the post 2007 income definition. The light blue line shows the quarterly changes in the poverty gap during the 2019-20 period. The average poverty gap increased steadily from $168 per week in 1999 to $254 per week in 2009 (in constant 2019 values), then rose to $290 per week in 2017. Over that period the poverty gap followed a different pattern to the poverty rates during the same period, reflecting a combination of factors working against each other: * Changes in the composition of people below the poverty line after 2009 reduced the poverty gap before 2009 and increased it afterwards. These influences were partly offset by increases in housing costs throughout this…


Percentage of children in poverty from 1999-2019

This graph shows the percentage of children in poverty from 1999 - 2019, using the 50% of median income after-housing costs poverty line. The poverty line used is 50% of median income, taking account of housing costs. The lower (dark blue) line shows poverty rates measured using the pre-2007 ABS income definition, while the higher (red) line is based on the post 2007 income definition. The light blue line shows the quarterly changes in poverty rates during the 2019-20 period. It shows that child poverty, alongside the overall poverty rates, declined substantially from 1999 to 2003 (from 18.6% to 14.3%), then rose to 18.8% in 2007. It fell gradually to 17.6% in 2017. It also shows that child poverty rose sharply than fell dramatically during the first year of the pandemic (2019-20); from 16.2% in the September quarter of 2019 to 19% in the March quarter of 2020, then fell to 13.7%, a two-decade low, in June 2020.


Poverty lines by family type

This table shows poverty lines by family type in dollars per week, including social security payments.


Percentage of all people in poverty from 1999 - 2019

This graph shows the percentage of all people in Australia in poverty from 1999  - 2019. The poverty line used is 50% of median income, taking account of housing costs. The lower (dark blue) line shows poverty rates measured using the pre-2007 ABS income definition, while the higher (red) line is based on the post 2007 income definition. The light blue line shows the quarterly changes in poverty rates during the 2019-20 period, when the impacts of COVID-19 lifted the poverty rate from 13.2% in the September quarter of 2019 to 14.6% in the March quarter of 2020, and the extra coronavirus income support payments introduced meant it fell to 12% - a 17 year low - in the June quarter of 2020.


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…


Percentage of people receiving JobKeeper and COVID Supplements by household income groups

This figure shows shows how COVID income support payments were distributed among households ranked by income in 2020. JobKeeper Payment mainly lifted the incomes of middle income-households at risk of losing their jobs, and Coronavirus Supplement lifted the incomes of low-income households on income support payments. Towards the end of the recession in September 2020: * Around three quarters (76%) of JobKeeper Payments went to the middle 60%; * A similar proportion of the Coronavirus Supplement (70%) went to the lowest 40%. * The highest 20% received just 19% of the value of JobKeeper Payment and 6% of that of Coronavirus Supplement.


Internet searches for food assistance from October 2019 to September 2021

This graph shows trends in internet searches for food relief from before the COVID recession in October 2019 to September 2021: It shows similar peaks in searches for food relief at the start of the national lockdown in March 2020 and those in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra in August 2021, which were experiencing lockdowns at the time. Significantly, demand fell between March and July 2020 as COVID income supports were introduced, and gradually rose through 2021 after they were removed.