84% of Australians Believe Rich-Poor Gap is Growing

Today, as the leaders in the community sector, government, academics and business come together at the ACOSS National Conference in Melbourne to discuss the best policies and practices related to the Social Inclusion, polling reveals 84% of Australians think the gap between rich and poor is widening.

The survey also found that over 60% of the respondents believe that 11% or more of Australians do not an acceptable standard of living. Research published by Australia Fair last year found that more than 11%, or 2.2 million Australians, lived below an austere income poverty line.

The survey asked people to identify which groups of Australians were more likely to live below an acceptable standard of living. The highest responses were: jobless people and people on welfare, Indigenous people, elderly / age pensioners, homeless people, people with disabilities or mental health issues and single parents.

Respondents were also asked what people need to have an acceptable standard of living. The highest responses were: shelter, income / decent minimum wage, food, access to health care and good health, educational opportunities, clothing, access to social services and employment.

ACOSS President Lin Hatfield Dodds said: “ACOSS National Conference this week will be an opportunity for the leaders of the community sector to discuss the practical steps needed to increase social inclusion. These survey results show that the Australian public understand what’s needed to increase social inclusion and address disadvantage. This is why the Federal Government’s Social Inclusion agenda is an important opportunity to lift living standards for those Australians below the poverty line.”

ACOSS Executive Director Andrew Johnson said: “This survey shows that Australians have a good understanding that there are increasing numbers of people missing out on a fair go. Ordinary Australians understand that more than 1 in 10 Australians are missing out on a fair go. They understand the extent of the problem and who is most at risk of being among the 2.2 million Australians living in poverty.

“Ordinary Australians understand that more than 1 in 10 Australians are missing out on a fair go. They understand the extent of the problem and who is most at risk of being among the 2.2 million Australians living in poverty.