Give priority to "poverty postcodes", agencies say

Welfare agencies are pressing the NSW government to implement recommendations from the recent Vinson report to give funding priority to so-called "poverty code" areas where intergenerational poverty is concentrated.

The welfare agencies say in a statement released yesterday that neither of the state's major political parties is tackling the issue of entrenched poverty.

"Latest research from Professor Tony Vinson shows that just 1.7 per cent of postcodes across Australia account for more than seven times their share of top rank positions on the major factors that cause intergenerational poverty," the statement quoted Catholic Social Services NSW/ACT Chair, Bernard Boerma, as saying.

Professor Vinson's report, Dropping off the edge, jointly sponsored by Catholic Social Services Australia and Jesuit Social Services, found that Australia's neediest communities are being held hostage by a succession of social ills from joblessness to jail time, child abuse, poor health and limited education.

Mr Boerma says that the key recommendation from the report suggests that long-term investment in "affordable housing transport, community building, education and health services is critical".

Council of Social Service of NSW Acting Director, Michelle Burrell called on NSW Premier, Maurice Iemma, and Opposition leader, Peter Debnam, to commit their parties to maintain and enhance existing funding under various schemes

Ms Burrell also called on the Government and Opposition to support long term funding for community-driven development in areas of entrenched disadvantage and for "innovation to trial and develop new solutions".

Mr Boerma added that "with political will from both Federal and State Governments, the complex and difficult circumstances facing areas of extreme disadvantage can be overturned, but we need to think beyond electoral cycles."

The agencies' intervention comes as NSW prepares for the State election, to be held next Saturday.

Catholic Social Services Australia

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Catholic Social Services Australia
Jesuit Social Services
Dropping off the Edge website
Dropping off the edge - Extended summary (PDF)

Major report warns of "gated" communities (CathNews, 26/2/07)

16 Mar 2007

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