The Meeting Place

Why we must act to support each other

old man being helped

More than one in eight adults and one in six children live below the poverty line in Australia, according to the 2020 Poverty in Australia Overview released by the Australian Council of Social Service and UNSW Sydney. 

“It’s not right that in Australia, one of the wealthiest countries in the world, more than three million people, including three quarters of a million children, are living in poverty," said ACOSS chief Dr Cassandra Goldie. 

“We want to support each other. It’s who we are as a nation. But our economy is leaving people behind, with persistently high poverty rates despite decades of uninterrupted economic growth. 

“People living in poverty include young people working to get their foot in the door of the competitive job market, single parents juggling caring responsibilities, and older people confronting age discrimination. 

“The job market is changing, with jobs less secure, and fewer entry level jobs than there used to be. Our housing costs are among the highest in the world and are locking people in poverty. For households of working age with the lowest incomes, average housing costs rose by 42 per cent from 2005 to 2017. 

“Australia’s income support system was designed to help people when they are going through tough times. But key income support payments – Newstart and Youth Allowance – have not increased in real terms in 26 years and they are both well below the poverty line. 

“The low rate of Newstart, a lack of jobs and unaffordable housing are locking people in poverty. “Not only has poverty remained consistently high in our wealthy country, the depth of poverty is getting worse, with households in poverty on average living 42 per cent below the poverty line, up from 35 per cent in 2007. 

“It’s clear we must act to lift people out of poverty. The Government can reduce poverty by boosting growth in jobs, increasing Newstart and Rent Assistance, and investing in social housing to ensure everyone has a safe place to call home." 

The poverty rate in Australia is worse than in most other wealthy countries, including New Zealand, Germany and Ireland, says the report’s lead researcher, UNSW Sydney Associate Professor Dr Bruce Bradbury.

“Our report finds that 13.6 per cent of people in Australia are living in poverty and that poverty rates have remained at about this level for the past decade, despite economic growth," he added. 

“Child poverty has consistently been higher than overall poverty, ranging from 18 per cent to 16 per cent over the past decade and now sits at 17.7 per cent – more than one in six children.” 

Professor Carla Treloar, Director of the Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW Sydney, said: 

“We cannot accept these high, persistent levels of overall poverty and child poverty.” 

“We can see in recent decades the impacts of changes to income support settings on poverty levels. It’s clear we must take action on income support, housing and employment to lift people out of poverty,” said Professor Treloar. 

Key facts from the ACOSS report: 

• 3.24 million people in Australia (13.6% of the population) live below the poverty line. 

• 774,000 children under the age of 15 (17.7% of all children in Australia) live below the poverty line. 

• More than one in eight adults and one in six children live below the poverty line in Australia. 

• The poverty rate in Australia is worse than in most other wealthy countries. It is worse than in New Zealand, Germany and Ireland, according to the latest figures from the OECD. 

• In Australia, the poverty line is $457 per week for a single adult. The poverty line is measured as 50% of median income. 

• The average ‘poverty gap’ (the difference between the incomes of people in poverty in various types of families and the poverty line) is $282 per week.

• Among the lowest 20% of working-age households by income, average housing costs grew by 42% from 2005 to 2017 (compared with an average rise in housing costs of 15% for the middle 20%).

• The single rate of Youth Allowance (plus Rent Assistance and Energy Supplement) is $168 per week below the poverty line. 

• Our survey of young people on Youth Allowance found 9 in 10 skip meals and 1 in 3 have withdrawn from their studies because of a lack of funds. 

• The single rate of Newstart (plus Rent Assistance and Energy Supplement) is $117 per week below the poverty line. 

• Our survey of people on Newstart found more than 8 in 10 regularly skip meals and more than half have less than $15 a day left after housing costs.

• The single rate of the Age Pension (plus Pension and Energy Supplements) is closer to the poverty line, but still $10 per week below. 

• Newstart, Youth Allowance and Rent Assistance have not increased in real terms in 25 years. 

• ACOSS is calling for a $95 per week increase to Newstart and Youth Allowance; a $20 per week increase to Rent Assistance (as a first step) and for these payments to be regularly indexed to wages, as is the case for the Age Pension.


A glaring example of woeful governing. This current LNP mob will continue to perpetuate poverty and ignore the poor. Their refusal to increase the rate of Newstart and Student Allowance demonstrates a lack of empathy toward those in our society struggling to live on so little. The LNP does not care about poverty.

Absolutely spot-on, Ny19!

The Fake Budget Surpluss was supposed to be about improving the lives of all Australians   This is despite the opinions of many that cuts in government spending would have a negative effect on many and do nothing to stimulate the economy.

Now all pretence about the BS being an economic strategy to help all Australians and strengthen our finnancial position have gone by the boards.  It is as though the Liberals and their su branch that call themselves Nationals have realused that they basically had one job to do " Budget Surplus" and they are failing to get that job done.  The BS will be achieved in the same way that this government has achieved its carbon targets, figures will be moved around on a spreadsheet with no actual progress being made.

They have failed to accomplish much in the years they have inflicted themselves on us and have now placed themselves in the position of having to forge ahead with the Fake BS regardless of who has to suffer to accomplish it.

When are people going to realuse that ledger book politics is not going to work in a humane society.  A government may have a balanced budget, but to deliberatley cast people into poverty and missery in order to achieve it is counter productive and a crime against humanity.

Give wealthy person a tax break and they will invest the money with no guarantee that it will be invested in this country.  Lift an average person above the poverty line and they will spend that money in the local community thus helping Small Business, the very people who the government proports to be concentrating on.

We need to start concentrating on what politicians are saying as individuals, not on what they spew forth in the way of carefully constructed marketing slogans.


The S-word is spelt "Surplus".

Thanks for the heads up Intelligo, spellcheck has made me lazy over the years.

But then, I don't much care as long as I can get my point across.

We simply have a government that has no social conscience, it's as simple as that. Detestable people who think only how they can retain their highly paid jobs and perks. Trouble is, the alternative isn't much better.

you're absolutely right about the Lieberal-Nazionals. However, the ALP is much better than them.


A Budget Deficit is a total sum of bad financial management by caused by a reckless spending government, ie: Australian Labor Party, however with some social conscience.

A Budge Surplus is also a total sum of bad financial management by a tight fisted, self serving  mean government with no social conscience, ie: Liberal National Party Coalition.

Good financial management by a government is a balanced Revenue and Spending  Budget that results in zero defecit and zero surplus, zero debts. 



Debt under the Lieberal-Nazional Coalition of scumbags is far worse than it ever was under Labor.

I prefer the lesser of the two evils, Labor, we saw great incentives under Labor for all people not just the elite.

Surely a good budget is one that cares for the people of Australia. The pendulum has swung way over in favour of the wealthy who don't need the extra money but do crave the power.

This goverment prides itself on the number of self professed Christians in their ranks but it is a pity they don't live up to those beliefs.

As I have said before both LNP and Labor are like the nazis.  LNP got in power thru lying, cheating, bullying and conniving. Labor lost as they are like the bumbling guards in hogans heroes, unable to explain their policies etc


As my late husband used to say, in this world you have to make your own luck.

Which is so true.  I don't think we should rely on the taxpayers to finance our lives.

He was a political prisioner in Tito's Government and suffered a lot of hardships under the Italian army and the Nazi invaders.  Born in 1930 he was a boat builder on the Adriatic coast and was imprisioned because he didn't pass to Tito's Government the names of people that asked him to take them to Italy from the Croatian coast over the Adriatic!  For that he was put into a Prison where he could neither stand fully or lay fully for two years.


I am sure he was not the only one that suffered like this either.

He came to Western Australia like many migrants with empty pockets but a strong back to work.

He used to tell the story of his first job on the Fremantle slipway fixing fishing boats and was told off by the fellow workers that he was doing too much work each day.  In other words he made them look lazy.

I live very well well below the poverty line myself. The two of us don't spend $457 a week so $457 for an individual is way more than enough to live very well. 

If you don't have rent to pay yes, but those renting use at least half of that on rent.

Th Liberals have no social conscience when it comes to looking after people who are struggling.

Th Liberals have no social conscience when it comes to looking after people who are struggling.

Why only the Liberals?

I think all politicians have no social conscience!


It was Bob Hawke who said "By 1990, no child will live in poverty". The statistics are now there for all to see what a monstrous lie that has been after multiple Labor & Liberal Govts! Remember that Hawke-Keating then proceeded to destroy all manufacturing (cars, textiles, etc, etc, etc) in this country by getting rid of Tariffs! Also, Howard sold off our Gas cheap, etc, etc. On the other hand, capitalist Trump took on China, put Tariffs (protecting Local jobs in USA) and is restoring expansion of manufacturing in USA!

Time for all sensible Australians to stop the Labor vs Liberal arguments, and THROW OUT BOTH these parties, as well as the Greens, as they all DO NOT work for the Australian people, and hope an Australian Trump emerges.

Trouble with Trump is he is also all in for himself and about destroying the environment. So no we do not need a Trump type here. There are many other parties and independants that I will be considering. You need to consider your votes on a local level too and see what they will do for you and your community as well as the bigger picture.

And you wonder why crime rate has risen, people are becoming more desperate. Homelessness increasing all the time too. Horrible to see what is happening to this country because of greed. Also Newstart and Youth Allowance and Austudy must rise if we want a better economy for all: 

One of the wealthest countries on the planet?

So why are we in debt?

This is the reason that you people should have long been change your voting priority. They are not worth to keep voting for them when in fact they keep failing us. Comes next election they will be promising more again and again are you going to vote for them again. LIBERALS or NATIONALS they are just the same. They have line ups of corrupt and hard headed politicians that just keep doing the wrong thing because of their immunity which should be taken away. If they want to serve the people then they better live as a normal citizen without any immunity to protect their evil ways. If they can do that then they are worth our vote and support. Next election THINK WISELY

We do have an issue of third generation "dole bludgers" (to use a term that most will understand and not meant as putting people down).  These famillies have no family history of going to work and no one to encourage them to get well educated, to get up in the morning and to go out of their way to earn a living.   These are a group where each of them will go on to reproduce more of the same and thus increase the numbers in poverty.  

The other issue is population increase which means that more people are competing to gain a place to call home.

I don't know the answers - just putting this out for discussion.


I would like to see the statistics on the third generation of welfare recipients, I do not think it is that many compared to the overall population, what we need to worry about is politician pensions and perks that is costing tax payers a hell of lot more when they can clearly look after themselves with their own savings and incomes, time to asset test them. There is already a lot of support for young people to take on education even after they have left school but more needs to be done with free Tafe etc. Trouble is a lot of the problem lies in their homelife and we need more support there too. 




Hi Jtee. 

Norwegians pay higher taxes but they do get more for their money.Perhaps the problem with Australia is we are so large, we have vast distances to take care of and a small taxpayer base.

We need more people working and paying tax! 

Perhaps more Independent politicians too.

I don't like the Political Party system with members having to vote according to the Party and not what the politicians were voted in for.   Norway has a very vast coastline to take care of, not as large as Australias but for 5 million people there is a lot to look after as way of a coastline.  

United Kingdom is approximately 243,610 sq km, while Norway is approximately 323,802 sq km. Meanwhile, the population of United Kingdom is ~64.4 million people (59.1 million fewer people live in Norway).