Friday, June 19, 2009

Australia's Anglicare demands a new form of assistance

The Australian NGO Anglicare has released a new report on poverty in Australia. The report says that the global economic recession has not created a new class of poor in Australia. Anglicare is also calling on government to come up with a different model of assistance, one that treats the root causes of poverty.

From the ABC, reporter Simon Santow talks to the Anglicare CEO.

SIMON SANTOW: Single parents, people living alone, renters, people dependent on welfare and Indigenous Australians continue to be the poorest in society.

And Peter Kell rejects recent reports that there's evidence a new class of poor arising from the global financial crisis is swamping social services.

PETER KELL: The experience of our emergency relief centres would indicate that it's not a major part of the people that we are helping.

However I would put one caveat on that. This report deals with the period ending in February this year. Unemployment here is only just starting on the rise. All the economists tell us that it is going to get to 8 or 9 per cent from its current 5 point something.

So the demand for this kind of help is clearly going to go up over the next 12 to 18 months as unemployment goes up.

SIMON SANTOW: Anglicare says it has welcomed huge boosts to the amount of money provided for emergency relief for the poor but now it wants the focus to move beyond bandaids and towards tackling the underlying causes of poverty.

PETER KELL: We need to work out how we wrap around the immediate help of food vouchers, rent payments, utility payments with other case management assistance which helps people with their other needs, their needs in relation to child problems or lack of skilling, lack of education, not even knowing how to prepare a nutritious meal - all these sorts of things which we sort of take for granted in normal Australia but which go to present these people on this continuum of despair that they are on.

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