A new report from the ACOSS/UNSW Sydney Poverty and Inequality Partnership – Covid, inequality and poverty in 2020 & 2021 shows that during the first ‘Alpha’ wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Australia halved poverty and significantly reduced income inequality, thanks to a raft of Commonwealth Government crisis support payments introduced to help people survive the first lockdown. But the reversal of this Federal Government support in 2021 saw poverty rates increase again.
- Between 2019 and the middle of 2020, the percentage of people in poverty fell from 11.8% to 9.9% despite the recession.
- Among people in households on the JobSeeker Payment, poverty fell by four-fifths, from 76% in 2019 to just 15% in June 2020.
- Among sole parent families (both adults and children) poverty was reduced by almost half, from 34% to 19%.
- By April 2021 when the supplement was removed completely, the new rate of JobSeeker payment fell to approximately 30% below the poverty line.
Plus a new poverty report from the BankWest Curtain Economics Centre, Behind the Line – Poverty and disadvantage in Australia 2022 shows an increasing link between living in private rental accommodation and poverty. According to their study using the 2020 HILDA survey, two-thirds of single women and one-half of single men aged over 55 years who are living in rented houses were living below the poverty line. Among single-parent renters – two in five live below the poverty line.
Lead author Professor Alan Duncan said:
“Modelling in the report projected that relatively small increases to both the JobSeeker rate and Commonwealth Rent Assistance would go a long way towards reducing severe poverty in Australia.”
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