A stable home at the heart of tackling Australia’s poverty

With up to 1.5 million people living in poverty in Australia, CEDA Chief Executive Stephen Martin has said now is the time to tear up the rule book and have a radical overhaul of how we tackle entrenched poverty. 

Martin suggested that reducing poverty in Australia isn’t as simple as encouraging people to get a job but stems from a range of other issues that include educational levels, mental health and social discrimination. “What they need is a ladder of opportunity to pull them up – support to make them employable – not further penalties to push them down”.

A major area where we are missing the mark is early intervention, said Martin, as telling people who do not have a stable home base or in some cases even basic education levels to go and get a job is pointless, as people need a stable foundation to start with.

“By properly addressing this from an early age we can reduce the burden on government budgets of supporting people later on and increase workforce participation which is good for our economy as a whole.”

While the success of early intervention has been evident in previous government funded policies, Martin explained they have not been sufficient to tackle the enormity of the issue.

“This is as much an economic issue as it is a social one. We know for example that children raised in entrenched disadvantage are at high risk of being trapped in entrenched disadvantage as adults,” he said.

“It is unlikely that any country can wholly eliminate poverty and disadvantage. However, Australia most definitely can and must do better.”