Sole parent families at high risk of poverty in Australia

Rebeccah Elley

Monday 13 October 2014

A report released by the Australian Council of Social Service has found 36.8% of children in sole parent families are living in poverty, compared to 17.7% of all children in Australia.

Australian Council of Social Service poverty report

ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie explained that the reason for such a significant number amongst single parent families was due to “lower levels of employment”, especially those with very young children and “low levels of social security payments.”

Overall, around 2.5 million people are living below the internationally accepted poverty line in Australia. Goldie described the findings as “deeply disturbing”, highlighting the need for a national plan to tackle poverty.

"Most of the poverty we found is concentrated among the groups of people facing the most disadvantage and barriers to fully participating in our community.”

The people who are at the greatest risk of poverty include the unemployed at 61.2% and those in a household that relies on social security as its main source of income at 40.1%. Women were found to be significantly more likely to experience poverty than men at 14.7% compared to 13%.

Goldie said the Budget proposals present a “danger” to reduce the indexation of pension payments to the Consumer Price Index only, “which is likely to result in higher poverty rates over time than would be the case if payments were indexed to wages and therefore community living standards.”

"We need the development of a comprehensive national plan to tackle poverty if we are going to build on our great wealth and more fairly share the opportunities that will include all our citizens," Goldie said.

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