Poverty worsening in some states, research finds

Children in disadvantaged areas are missing out on access to early education (Bigstock)

One in five young children is living in poverty, with rates in Queensland and Western Australia worsening, new research shows. Source: Sydney Morning Herald.

The proportion of children under five in poverty rose to 21.4 per cent in Queensland and 20.7 per cent in Western Australia in 2017-18, from 16.5 per cent and 18.7 per cent respectively in 2009-10, research from Curtin University’s Curtin Business School shows.

Children in almost all other states were better off over the period, with about 20.8 per cent of under fives living in poverty in New South Wales, down from 23.1 per cent, and 17.8 per cent in Victoria, down from 21 per cent. Nationally, the rate was 19.6 per cent in 2017-18, down from 20.1 per cent in 2009-10.

Tasmania was the best-performing state, almost halving the rate to 10.9 per cent, from 19.6 per cent.

Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre principal fellow associate Rebecca Cassells said children living in disadvantaged areas were 10 times more likely not to access the 15 hours of weekly preschool education they were entitled to despite financial support from the Commonwealth Government. The Government recently extended its universal access program to 2021 at an additional cost of $452 million.

Ms Cassells said that despite the aim of universal access to early education for everyone, inequality was worsening, with children in disadvantaged areas missing out.

The child poverty rate is calculated by Curtin based on the share of children who live in households with 50 per cent or less of the median household income.


One in five young children living in poverty in Australia: Curtin University (By Jennifer Duke, Sydney Morning Herald)

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