Today marks the start of Anti-Poverty Week – a week for all Australians to focus on the lives of those less fortunate.
The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, today launched Anglicare Australia’s State of the Family Report, which highlights the affects of poverty and disadvantage on Australian families.
The Report provides an insight into the complex issues affecting vulnerable families and puts forward a range of ideas to help inform public debate.
Over the last three years the Australian Government has pursued an ambitious agenda to reduce poverty and give disadvantaged Australians opportunities.
We know the most powerful way we can help families at risk of, or experiencing poverty, is through a strong economy and jobs.
Since we came to Government in November 2007, employment has risen by over 600,000.
In the last 12 months, around 360,400 jobs have been created, with more than 80 per cent of these being full-time positions.
The Australian Government is also focused on delivering targeted assistance to help families under pressure, including:
- Delivering Australia’s first Paid Parental Leave scheme on 1 January next year, which will provide paid leave for low income families, casual, contract and seasonal workers for the first time;
- Providing more support to teenagers aged 16 to 18 who stay at school or are in training through our election commitment to increase the maximum payment rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A by more than $150 per fortnight from 1 January 2012;
- Increasing the pension for Australia’s four million aged, disability, carer and veteran pensioners;
- Investing $6 billion in social housing and $1.1 billion over four years to reduce homelessness;
- Assisting families caring for children with developmental disabilities with access to intensive early intervention services from 1 July 2011; and
- Delivering a record $5.75 billion over three years to address chronic under investment in Indigenous affairs.
Reducing poverty is a major challenge and requires all governments, non-government agencies, business and the community to work together to address it.