Growing poverty: Derelict apartments used to accommodate impoverished Aborigines line the streets of the indigenous community known as “The Block” in Sydney (Jan. 15, 2010).Source: Torsten Blackwood/AFP/Getty Images
At least 2.2 million Australians live in poverty, according to findings by the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS). Over 105,000 of this number are currently homeless.
“We know the cost of essential items and services like food, rent, energy, health, education, clothing and transport costs continue to go up,” ACOSS CEO Dr. Cassandra Goldie said. “In fact since 2000, the cost of living in Australia, as evidenced by the CPI has risen by 34% with energy expenses in particular doubling in the past decade and expected to double again in the next 5 years. And ACOSS believes this is understating it…”
Emergency assistance requests skyrocketed for the 745 charity organizations involved in the survey, and more than 372 reported that they were unable to provide for all those requiring help.
“We are particularly concerned about people facing long term unemployment, as they fall deeper into poverty and risk of homelessness,” Dr. Goldie said. “The number of people becoming unemployed long term continues to rise, despite the fact that Australia’s unemployment rate is down to 5.0%.”
ACOSS is worried that the effects from recent floods that swept across Australia, which took place after the survey period, will worsen the situation.