This year’s Anti-Poverty Week is shining a light on the children of families who receive inadequate social security payments and depend on emergency support from charities, the St Vincent de Paul Society says.
“We are a sponsor of Anti-Poverty Week because the first-hand experience of our front-line members tells us how difficult life has become for so many Australians,” said St Vincent de Paul Society national president Mark Gaetani.
Australia has 3.3 million people living below the poverty line, including 761,000 children whose families lack adequate food and struggle to pay essential household bills.
The combination of inadequate and insecure housing, and families under financial stress, is especially damaging for children, putting their health, self-esteem and future prospects at serious risk.
“Those particularly vulnerable are single parents, First Nations people, long-term unemployed and those living with disability or ill-health. But it’s the impact on children that is especially concerning, as the formative years are so important,” Mr Gaetani said.
“If you don’t have a good start in life, a failure to thrive is embedded, impacting kids on many levels, from their physical and emotional health through to their educational and longer life prospects.”
Mr Gaetani said that with “prices rising across the board and people increasingly falling behind, an increase in government support payments is urgent”.
“For some time we have been stressing how a proper increase to working age payments and other entitlements would help people to better afford the essentials of life. Any increase in these payments will stimulate the economy, as people spend immediately, and locally, on essentials,” Mr Gaetani said.
“We urge the Government and all MPs to urgently commit to bringing about a better life for those experiencing poverty, especially children, and to take resolute action to make this happen.
761,000 kids must be brought out of poverty (St Vincent de Paul Society)