Nearly 600,000 adults and children in Queensland struggle to survive on income payments well below the poverty line. The figures come at the launch of Anti-Poverty Week in Queensland today. This represents 212,300, or more than one in five children, growing up in the poorest families with many at risk of homelessness due to a shortage of affordable housing.
“This Anti-Poverty Week we are calling on governments to unlock poverty for millions of Australians by raising income support above the poverty line and investing in social housing,” say Lindsay Wegener, Executive Director of PeakCare.
“To treat all Australian children fairly, we need to ensure every family has enough money to cover basics as well as a secure roof over their head. Children can thrive and be healthy when they have what they need to develop well,” says Lindsay.
Nationally, 2.65 million adults and children struggle to survive on income payments that are well below the poverty line with 940,000 children growing up in the poorest families.
“Poverty affects far too many Australian children and families, diminishing their lives now and in the future,” Lindsay continues. “As one of the wealthiest countries in the world, it’s not right that one in five children grow up in poverty. Not having enough money to cover the necessities restricts daily life and crushes hope for the future.
“We hear shocking stories of mothers pretending they’ve eaten dinner while cooking when there’s not enough food to feed the whole family. We’ve also heard of children telling their younger siblings to drink less milk and not even telling their parents about after school activities and excursions because they know the family cannot afford them,” says Lindsay.
Over 380,000 households in Queensland are receiving inadequate Commonwealth Rent Assistance which hasn’t seen a real increase in 21 years and only covers a third or a quarter of actual rent paid.
“Raising income support above the poverty line and government investment in social housing are the keys to unlocking poverty this Anti-Poverty Week,” says Karyn Walsh, CEO of Micah Projects. “Children can thrive and be healthy when they have what they need to develop well.
“To treat all children in Australia fairly, we need to ensure every family has enough money to cover the basics and a secure roof over their head. The weekly asking rent for all houses in Brisbane and regional Queensland has increased exponentially during the last financial year. Even the Government’s own Treasury review concluded ‘The maximum value of Commonwealth Rent Assistance has not kept pace with market rents, especially for low-income renters,” says Karyn.
Lindsay Wegener, Executive Director, PeakCare, 0437 726 192
Karyn Walsh, CEO, Micah Projects, 0413 619 785
Anne Hodge, Acting State Manager, Save the Children, 0488 330 882
Mark Jeffery, media & communications, 0419 732 583