Wednesday, October 19, 2016

NSWTF – Child poverty underscores Gonski need

Submitted by NSW Teachers Federation on 17 October 2016

One in six children in our schools lives below the poverty line, says a new report out this week, Anti-Poverty Week, reinforcing the need for Gonski-funded support in low-SES areas.

Case studies from the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) and the Social Policy Research Centre report, Poverty in Australia 2016, indicate children and parents living below the poverty line require essential support to lift them out of a generational cycle of destitution. The most important circuit-breaker for this cycle is education.

The Gonski report focused heavily on the need for substantial additional resources to overcome the educational disadvantage faced by students from poor families and those in care.

“More than 730,000 children live in poverty (one child in six). In single-parent families, four children in 10 now live in poverty. After 25 years of uninterrupted economic growth we can do better than this!” says Dr David Morawetz, founder of the Social Justice Fund.

Child poverty in Australia increased by 2 per cent over the decade to 2013-14.

A shaming OECD comparison of poverty rates for 2014 puts Australia behind Iceland, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Finland, Norway, France, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Slovak Republic, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, Germany, Slovenia, New Zealand, Belgium, Hungary, the United Kingdom UK and Poland. The OECD had Australia’s poverty rate at 12.8 per cent whereas the ACOSS report puts the rate at 13.3 per cent.

The ACOSS report, showing statistics for 2014, says 2.9 million Australians, mainly women, live below the poverty line, with 36 per cent of people receiving social security payments were living below the poverty line.

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