Financial Counselling Australia has joined Anti-Poverty Week, Sunday 11 – Saturday 17 October 2020, to highlight the devastating impacts of poverty in Australia and the importance of implementing lasting solutions.
Financial counsellors believe the most effective way to alleviate poverty is for the JobSeeker payment to be increased.
“JobSeeker needs to be set at a level that provides enough for people to live on with dignity,” said Fiona Guthrie, CEO of Financial Counselling Australia.
“Financial counsellors are supporting a new group of people, who have never experienced unemployment. They are uncertain about how to make ends meet and what will happen in coming months.”
Poverty in Australia is a significant issue. More than 3.24 million people, or 13.6 percent of the population, currently live below the poverty line.
Demand for food relief from charities has increased by 47 percent during COVID-19. Australians who faced food insecurity before the pandemic are going hungry more often, with 43 percent going a whole day each week without eating.
Renters are also adversely affected, with one third of tenants in Australia saying they are struggling to make ends meet or had recently skipped meals.
There is a clear solution to prevent poverty in Australia: an adequate and permanent increase in JobSeeker .
Financial counsellors are skilled professionals who provide free, independent and confidential advice for people experiencing financial hardship. They are not planners or advisors. They do not provide investment advice or earn commissions.
 Davidson, P., Saunders, P., Bradbury, B. and Wong, M. (2020), Poverty in Australia 2020: Part 1, Overview. ACOSS/UNSW Poverty and Inequality Partnership Report No. 3, Sydney: ACOSS.
 FoodBank Hunger Report 2020: Food insecurity in the time of COVID-19.
 Baker, E., Bentley, R., Beer, A. and Daniel, L. (2020) Renting in the time of COVID-19: understanding the impacts, AHURI Final Report No. 340, Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute Limited, Melbourne, https://www.ahuri.edu.au/research/final-reports/340, doi: 10.18408/ahuri3125401.