Thursday, November 17, 2016

Australia's poverty problem

A new report is Australia's most comprehensive study of Indigenous wellbeing. Indigenous Australians are experiencing increasing levels of imprisonment, self-harm and substance abuse, according to the damning report by the Productivity Commission which said many aspects of life for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians had "stagnated or worsened" since 2014.

It detailed a 77% rise in the incarceration of Indigenous people over the last 15 years. Juvenile detention rate remainS 24 times higher than for non-Indigenous Australians.

Psychological distress up 6% since 2004-5) and substance abuse up 8% since 2014-15), as well as no decrease in family and community violence. 

  It is one of the wealthiest countries on Earth - enriched by the bounty of a once-in-a lifetime mining boom - but Australia remains bedevilled by a rising number of its children living in poverty. Indigenous children suffer more than their non-Aboriginal counterparts. Single-parent families also endure great hardship. Charities blame the soaring cost of living and a lack of affordable housing for stubbornly high levels of poverty.

Trapped by disadvantage are more than 730,000 youngsters, according to the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS).
It laments a "national shame", and its research suggests about 13% of the population - or three million people - are living below the breadline.

The ACOSS report indicates one in six children in Australia is living in poverty, a 2% increase during the past decade, when the nation's coffers brimmed from a multi-billion dollar bonanza forged on exports of iron ore and other prized resources.

It is almost 30 years since the then Australian Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, said: "No child will be living in poverty by 1990."

Simply another fact that capitalism cannot be meaningfully reformed. 

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