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Victorians slide further into poverty. . .

MEDIA RELEASE
17 October 2016
Victorians slide further into poverty

Victoria has reached a sombre milestone, with a record 726,900 people now living in poverty.

New figures released to mark the start of Anti-Poverty Week reveal 12.8 per cent of Victorians are living below the breadline.

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People in regional areas are the hardest hit, with the poverty rate peaking at 15.3 per cent outside of Melbourne.

“These aren’t just numbers. These are people,” said VCOSS CEO Emma King.

“Behind every number is a family going without food, a pensioner frightened to use their heater or a jobseeker struggling to pay medical bills.”

Nationally, nearly three million people or 13.3 per cent of all Australians are below the poverty line of $426.30 per week (before housing costs are deducted).

More than 730,000 children under the age of 15 were also identified as living in poverty.

Ms King said the findings are a wakeup call.

“With renters more likely to experience poverty, and many people now renting for life, these figures highlight the need for a comprehensive housing policy to ensure all Victorians have a safe and affordable place to sleep at night.”

“Housing is Victoria’s next great social and economic challenge, and we await the release of the Government’s forthcoming housing strategy” she said.

Number

Rate (%)

Capital city (%)

Rest of state (%)

NSW

1,076,900

14.7

14.8

14.6

VIC

726,900

12.8

12

15.3

QLD

629,400

14

12.9

15.1

SA

199,400

12.6

12.5

13.3

WA

239,200

10.1

10

10.4

TAS

72,600

14.2

12.7

15.3

ACT & NT

46,000

8

n/a

n/a

TOTAL

2,990,300

13.3

12.8

14.1

 

The numbers and rates of poverty are understood to have steadily increased over recent years, however changes to data collection and methodology make direct year-on-year comparisons difficult.

The analysis—contained in the ACOSS/UNSW ‘Poverty In Australia 2016’ report—defines ‘poverty’ as earning half, or less than half, of the medium national income (minus housing expenses), and relies on 2014 data. This is the international standard.

For more information on methodology please read the national report.

For more information, or to arrange an interview with Emma King
please contact Ryan Sheales on 0418 127 153

Follow the conversation at www.twitter.com/vcoss

VCOSS
Level 8, 128 Exhibition Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
T: 03 9235 1000 F: 03 9654 5749 W: http://www.vcoss.org.au E: vcoss@vcoss.org.au