Youth poverty increasing

September 23, 1998

Youth poverty increasing

By Ema Corro

CANBERRA — "The impact of the Coalition government's attacks on youth incomes has had a devastating effect", Democratic Socialist candidate for Canberra, Nikki Ulasowski, told Green Left Weekly.

Ulasowski was responding to figures recently released by youth centres on the demand for food parcels, meals, bus tickets and emergency cash. The figures show a sharp increase in requests for emergency relief since the introduction of the federal government's common youth allowance (CYA).

With the introduction of the CYA, thousands of young people had their incomes reduced, or were cut off completely (Centrelink estimates that about 540 young people in Canberra have lost their entitlements).

According to the May 25 Canberra Times: "At least 1.7 million Australians live in households with incomes below the poverty line. For non-working sole parents with one child, the poverty line is $262 per week. For a couple with two children and one parent in the workforce, the poverty line is $450 per week. The social security payments which such households receive remain below the line."

"It's statistics such as these which reveal the real story", Ulasowski said. "When you've got the richest 30% of Australians receiving more than half of the country's total income, while the poorest 30% receive only 10%, there's something very wrong.

"Young people, and others without economic power, are hit hardest every time a government implements economic rationalist policies."

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