One in eight Australians is poor: Report

Last Updated: Sun, Oct 14, 2012 13:40 hrs

Canberra, Oct 14 (IANS) More than 2.2 million Australians - or one in eight - are living below the internationally accepted poverty line used to measure financial hardship in wealthy countries, a welfare group said in a report Sunday.

The Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) said people who are unemployed, children (especially in lone parent families), and people whose main source of income is social security payments, are the groups most at risk.

The report provides the most comprehensive study of poverty in Australia since 2006, Xinhua said.

Despite 20 years of economic growth, poverty has increased in Australia.

The report showed that almost 300,000 children livng in poverty are with sole parents.

"In a wealthy country like Australia, this is simply inexcusable," said ACOSS chief Cassandra Goldie.

ACOSS urged the Commonwealth and state governments to take steps in their next budgets to reduce poverty, by increasing income support for those in the deepest poverty, strengthening employment services for long-term unemployed people, and easing the high cost of housing for people on low incomes who rent privately.

"A wealthy country such as ours can and should do better to ensure that everyone is afforded an adequate standard of living. It is a fundamental human right," Goldie said.

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