The Australian Council of Social Services has highlighted an update on the numbers living in poverty.
New figures released by Australia Fair show that the number of Australians in poverty increased from 9.8% to 11.1% of the population between 2003-04 and 2005-06. This is based on the standard measure used extensively in OECD countries, 50% of median income.
The Prime Minister’s announcement of assistance for pensioners with their utilities bills is welcomed, but should extend to around 1 million sole parents, unemployed Australians and people with disabilities on NewStart Allowance.
In addition, we’re looking for a national plan with targets to assist the more than 1 in 10 Australians living in poverty which would include investment in dental care, affordable housing, education and training, and lifting the living conditions for Indigenous people.
Read the Australia Fair update here.
Given recent coverage of tax cuts in NZ and the desire of New Zealanders not to lose social services we should pay attention.
John Key said just yesterday that “a programme of personal tax cuts, starting with our first budget, and they’ll be progressively rolled out. Very similar to Australia. Australia started this programme five years ago, they’ve cut them every single year and it’s made a huge difference over in Australia.” (Sunrise, TV3, 24 Oct 2007).
So who’s been benefiting from those tax cuts then?
Meanwhile the social report here shows that gaps between rich and poor New Zealanders have finally started to close. So I’d say we’ve had our priorities about right. And now the question can be asked & what’s next?