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Australians support increased anti-poverty efforts: Anglicare

New research reveals sympathetic attitudes to poverty in Australia

By Chris Shearer

November 19 2018Australians want to end poverty and increase support for those living on government payments according to new research by Anglicare Australia.

Of those surveyed in the Anglicare-commissioned Ipsos poll, 85 per cent of Australians said they believed Australia should look after those in need, with 86 per cent agreeing that no one deserves to live in poverty.

71 per cent outright rejected the statement “those who rely on government support deserved to live in poverty”, while only 11 per cent agreed.

In Australia, the poverty line is considered $433 a week per single adult. The weekly Newstart allowance is $275.10, while the pension for a single person with maximum supplements is $458.15 .

Anglicare Australia CEO Kasy Chambers said the research, released today as The Real Story: What Australians think about poverty and how we shape the debate, “makes nonsense of the idea that Australians want Newstart and other payments to be at such a low rate”.

“For years governments have said that they won’t increase Newstart and other payments because it wouldn’t pass the ‘pub test’. This report tells us that they are the ones who are out of step with the community,” she said.

The research also found that in the last twelve months 16 per cent of Australians had “experienced hardship”, defined in the report as being unable to buy basic necessities such as food or shelter. The figures were highest in for those aged 18-29 (20 per cent) and 30-49 (20 per cent).

The report comes after anti-poverty advocates and people on Newstart and youth allowance called the Federal Government’s $2 a week raise to the payments in September “laughable”.

A campaign by the Australian Council of Social Services to increase Newstart by $75 a week has also been gaining traction in Canberra. On Friday ACOSS confirmed that all crossbenchers in the Lower House of Federal Parliament and key crossbenchers in the Senate now supported increasing the payment.

“When Adam Bandt, Cathy McGowan, Kerryn Phelps, Andrew Wilkie, Rebekha Sharkie, and Bob Katter all agree, it’s time to stop talking and act,” said ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie.

“The diverse crossbench’s unity on increasing Newstart confirms just how out of touch the major parties are on this issue, as does polling which finds 68% of the community agrees we must increase Newstart.

“Most people receiving Newstart live below the poverty line. It is very difficult to look for a job when you don’t know where your next meal is coming from or how to put food on the table for your kids. For years, people have been telling their story, trying to get the Federal Government to hear them.”