Friday, 12 July 2013 11:52

Entrenched Disadvantage Hasn't Shifted in a Decade

Speaking after the release of the The Deep and Persistent Disadvantage in Australia Productivity Commission's study, National Director, Lin Hatfield Dodds said “a combination of inadequate financial support and access to services is forcing vulnerable people into deeper poverty, entrenching their disadvantage, and making it increasingly difficult for them to get ahead.”

Disadvantage is dynamic. Most people who become disadvantaged are able to move out of it relatively quickly, but a small group remain disadvantaged for extended periods of time. 

Between 2001 and 2010, 3 per cent of Australians aged 15 years plus experienced deep social exclusion for five or more years and less than 1 per cent for seven years or more. 

It is extremely concerning that people continue to live in very deep disadvantage, said Ms Hatfield Dodds, and that in Australia this should not be the case”

The Productivity Commission report says people who are more likely to experience very deep and persistent disadvantage include lone parents, Indigenous Australians, people with long-term health conditions or disabilities; and people with low educational attainment.

Ms Hatfield Dodds says “The tragedy is that this includes children who miss the chance in their formative years to develop capabilities which allow them to belong in our communities throughout their lives.”

“Increasing investment in the services which support and provide opportunities for people deeply entrenched in disadvantage, will lead to better participation in the community including through work.

“One option is to fund this increased investment through the redirection of resources from the very generous superannuation tax concessions to wealthy superannuants to those that are the most disadvantaged, said Ms. Hatfield Dodds.

Ms. Hatfield Dodds said “This year superannuation tax concessions are worth $34.6 billion in are expected to increase to $50.7 billion in the financial year 2016/2017. The wealthiest ten per cent of the population are expected to receive 31.8 per cent of the tax concessions on superannuation contributions which equates to $11.0 billion in the financial year 2013/2014.”