TasCOSS on Poverty in Tasmania

I am very concerned by the figures in TasCOSS media release which was released Sunday regarding poverty in Tasmania. You can read about it below and I ask your prayers for Tasmanians living in poverty and for our society including business people and politicians to create life-giving work for Tasmanians.

14% of Tasmanians live in poverty with many more close to the edge

A new report on poverty in Australia released today has found that nearly 14 per cent of Tasmanians live in poverty and many more are dangerously close to the edge.

The Australian Council of Social Service’s Poverty Report 2012, released to coincide with today’s start of national Anti-Poverty Week, was conducted by the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales. The data source is the Australian Bureau of Statistics Income and Expenditure surveys for 2009-10 and previous years.

The key finding is that in 2010, an estimated 2,265,000 people or 12.8% of all Australians, including 575,000 children (17.3%), lived in households with income below the poverty line used in international research, which is set at 50% of the median (middle) disposable income for all Australian households.

In the case of a single adult, in 2010 this poverty line was $358 per week. In the case of a couple with two children it was $752.

The Poverty Report 2012 also found that:

·         13 .1 per cent of people in Hobart live below the poverty line.

·         14.2 per cent of Tasmanians outside the capital live below the poverty line.

·         13.7 per cent of all Tasmanians live in poverty.

·         When the widely-used 60% of median disposable income benchmark is applied to the population of Tasmania, 24 per cent of Tasmanians are impoverished.

·         The overall risk of poverty is higher (based on the 50% poverty line) in New South Wales and Tasmania than in the other states.

Tasmanian Council of Social Service CEO Tony Reidy said among the key causes of poverty in Tasmania were unemployment, and related low educational levels, and the high  proportion of people living on aged pensions. Around 34 per cent of Tasmanian households rely on some form of Commonwealth benefit as their principal source of income.

“But another major factor is the number of sole-parent families,” Mr Reidy said. “Nearly 25 per cent of Tasmanians under 15 live in a single-parent home, according to the latest Census.  In many of these households the parent may have a reasonable  income but their capacity to afford essential items is affected by factors like the high cost of renting a home and paying utility bills on one income.”

Mr Reidy said that TasCOSS was now completing a careful consultation with the community sector prior to making comprehensive recommendations to the State Government on strategies to alleviate poverty through the TasCOSS annual Budget Priorities Statement.

TasCOSS is the peak body for the Tasmanian community services sector and an advocate for low-income and disadvantaged Tasmanians.

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