We believe everyone has a right to life’s basic necessities. Many families in Western Australia are faced with agonising decisions every week about how to cover household expenses. Having access to adequate income and a safe place to call home is essential for health, safety and active participation in society.
Families experiencing hardship often face compounding challenges such as health issues, mounting debt and barriers to accessing employment.
Anglicare WA supports over 4,500 people each year with poverty alleviation measures including:
- Financial Counselling
- Financial assistance, support and education in Mandurah and Rockingham
- Hardship Utility Grants Scheme
- No and low interest loans
What are the main issues?
- More than 230,000 Western Australians (9%) are living in poverty, including 44,000 children.1
- More than 100,000 Western Australians are living in entrenched disadvantage; experiencing a combination of poverty, barriers to accessing basic necessities and social exclusion.
- Households on low incomes can quickly be thrust into a downward spiral of financial hardship as a result of a health crisis, unemployment, family separation, unexpected cost increases or receiving a fine or infringement.
- Increasing income inequality is leading to greater social fragmentation, social isolation and concentrations of social disadvantage in WA.
1Based on Productivity Commission (2018) Rising Inequality and calculations provided by Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre 2017.
Maintain a strong social safety net that respects people’s dignity
A responsive social safety net respects people’s dignity and recognises that they make different transitions through life, and does not penalise people as they move through these transitions, including moving from education to partial and full employment, into and out of cultural and family responsibilities, into and out of semi-retirement, illness, family breakdown, natural disasters, and simple loss of employment. The safety net should be easy to access for people when they need it.
Raise the Rate
The Federal Government should undertake a comprehensive review of the income support system to ensure it is adequate and fair. In the meantime, it should raise the rate of Newstart to reduce rates of poverty, improve people’s prospects of finding decent paid work and strengthen local communities.
Fairness in fines
An $85 parking fine may be little more than an annoyance to a high income individual, but for others, who are living in poverty, it can mean being unable to afford food or pay rent. Fines should be proportionate to a person’s income to ensure it has the same effect. State and local governments should adopt a sliding scale so fines are commensurate with a person’s capacity to pay, and make it easier for people to ‘cut out’ fines via community service participation instead of prison time.
Water, electricity and gas should be accessible to all
No one should go hungry or lose their home due to the high cost of utilities. Energy tariffs must be adjusted to ensure affordability for low income households. Concessions should be set at appropriate levels, and be easy to access, to reduce financial hardship among low income households.
What you can do
- Educate yourself about what can be done to alleviate poverty and inequality in Australia
- Contact us to receive Anglicare’s notices about opportunities and events related to poverty and inequality
- Connect with other people in campaigning to Raise the Rate of Newstart
- Volunteer with Anglicare WA and work with us to alleviate poverty
- Make a donation to Anglicare WA
- Talk to friends and family about poverty and inequality in Australia
- Organise an event in your area to empower people to speak out about poverty and inequality
- Contact your elected officials in the WA Parliament and the Australian Parliament. Tell them you support initiatives to alleviate poverty and inequality in WA
- Share your thoughts on social media: