We need an anti-poverty plan: ACOSS

Many people who were on Newstart, who needed help from Anglicare, lived on or below the poverty line, a report from Anglicare says. Source: AAP

The Australian Council of Social Service is calling for a national plan to tackle poverty, with more than 10 per cent of Australians living below the poverty line.

Social services groups are calling for a national plan to tackle growing levels of poverty in Australia.

The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) and its eight state and territory partner agencies are using the start of Anti-Poverty week to push for the issue to be on the political agenda.

The national plan should include a clear target to reduce the number of people, including children, living below the poverty line, they say in a statement on Monday.

The ACOSS statement said more than 2.5 million Australians in 2011-12 were living below the poverty line, which is defined as less than half of median income.

There should also be concrete initiatives to increase job openings for the long-term unemployed, an at least $50 increase in the unemployment benefit and a boost to family payments for sole parents.

An increase in rent assistance payments and a joint-government plan to accelerate the supply of affordable housing should be included.

"The Councils of Social Services and our membership of community organisations stand ready to work with the Commonwealth and state and territory governments to develop an effective anti-poverty plan," they say.

The councils believe the time is right for a national conversation after Australia recently signed up to poverty reduction targets as part of its commitment to the sustainable development goals.

Also released on Monday was a report from Anglicare Sydney, which has an emergency relief program.

Of the single parents on Newstart benefits presenting to Anglicare's emergency relief service in Sydney, 81 per cent lived on or below the poverty line.

Single people were the largest group of service users, the report says.

Source AAP, SBS Staff

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch