Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

State of the Family Report

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony today launched Anglicare Australia’s third State of the Family report.

“Importantly, the Report asks ‘should Australians be concerned about families living in risk of poverty’. I believe the answer is a resounding ‘yes’ and I commend Anglicare Australia for their important contribution to the debate.

“State of the Family looks at the complex reasons why families find themselves facing poverty, unemployment and homelessness.

“The report identifies factors, such as education, wellbeing, access to affordable housing and access to employment opportunities that impact on a family’s resilience.

“The Coalition Government recognises and is addressing these issues. Our record on assisting low income families is a strong one. For example, we will spend more than
$10 billion this financial year on Family Tax Benefit payments alone.

“The increase in assistance that the we have provided directly to families has been an important factor in reducing the rates of child poverty.

“Also, our focus on early intervention and prevention strategies are going a long way to help Australian families with their health and general wellbeing, parenting and those families at risk of homelessness.

“Breaking the cycle of intergenerational disadvantage has been a focus of the Coalition Government. We have consulted widely on improving the welfare system to ensure all Australians have the opportunity to reach their potential both socially and economically. The $1.7 billion Australians Working Together package is a strong indication of our commitment to this end.

“There is little doubt the Coalition Government’s management of the economy has benefited the community as a whole. Since we were elected more than 369,600 full-time and 463,700 part-time jobs have been created and real incomes of the bottom 20 per cent of households have increased by 8.4 per cent between 1996-97 and 1999-2000.

“Governments do not have a monopoly on the many issues affecting families confronting poverty. There are no quick fixes to these problems. I am not going endorse a target to reduce the number of jobless families.

“However, the Report acknowledges that there has been a reduction in the number of children in jobless families from 860,000 in July 2000 to 650,000. This is very encouraging,” Mr Anthony said.