A hand up not a hand out: Renewing the fight against poverty (Report on poverty and financial hardship)

A hand up not a hand out: Renewing the fight against poverty (Report on poverty and financial hardship)

11 March 2004

© Commonwealth of Australia 2004
ISBN 0 642 71199 2

View the report as a single document - (PDF 2336KB)

View the report as separate downloadable parts:

Membership of the Committee (PDF 102KB)
Overview (PDF 170KB)
Recommendations (PDF 132KB)
Chapter 1 - Introduction (PDF 101KB)

Terms of reference
Conduct of the inquiry
Structure of the Report
The Committee's approach to poverty

Chapter 2 - Defining and measuring poverty (PDF 239KB)

What is poverty?
Poverty and inequality
Measuring poverty
   Income-based poverty lines
   Budget standards
   Consensual approach
   Living standards studies
Problems in measuring poverty
   Data sources
   Definition of income
   The measure of resources
Alternative measures of poverty
   Deprivation indicators
   Use of expenditure data
   The income unit
   Time period
   Equivalence scales
Updating poverty lines

Chapter 3 - Poverty and inequality in Australia (PDF 217KB)

The origins of poverty research
   The Henderson Commission of Inquiry
Extent of poverty in Australia
   Who is in poverty today?
   Poverty by State/Territory
Income inequality
   Impact of the GST
   Impact of taxes, transfers and other benefits
   Wealth distribution

Chapter 4 - Unemployment and the changing labour market (PDF 314KB)

The changing labour market
Unemployment and underemployment
Joblessness and poverty
Creating more jobs
   Full employment
   Job creation schemes
Role and effectiveness of the Job Network
Long-term unemployed
   Skill development and work experience
The working poor
   Life for the low paid
   Addressing the problem of low pay
   Changing industrial relations environment

Chapter 5 - Income support (PDF 246KB)

Income support arrangements
Adequacy of income support payments
Payments - how adequate is the 'safety net'?
   Income based poverty measures
   Budget standards
   Hardship measures
   Payment structure
   Level of payment
   Participation costs
Compliance requirements and penalties
Poverty traps

Chapter 6 - Housing (PDF 228KB)

Housing and poverty
   Supported Accommodation Assistance Program
Groups with special housing needs
Addressing housing access and affordability
   Public and community housing
   Rent assistance
   Private investment in low-cost housing
   Home ownership
   Tenants' rights and tenancy databases
   National housing strategy

Chapter 7 - Education and training (PDF 261KB)

The relationship between education and poverty
   Literacy and numeracy
   Retention and participation rates
Poverty and early childhood education
School education
   Educational costs
   Breakfast clubs for schoolchildren
   Quality of education
   Public education
   Programs to improve educational outcomes
Poverty and access to tertiary education

Chapter 8 - Health (PDF 201KB)

Poverty and health
Access to Medicare
   Decline in bulk-billing
   Addressing the decline in bulk-billing
Access to public hospitals
   Australian Health Care Agreements
   Impact of the private health insurance rebate
Access to ancillary and specialist health services
Access to preventive health and related services
Access to maternal and child health services
Access to dental care

Chapter 9 - Other issues: Utilities, credit, gambling (PDF 211KB)

Access to utilities
Consumer credit regulation
   Availability of credit
   Loan defaults and debt recovery
   Fringe credit providers
   Consumer education
   Funding of financial counselling services
   Response to problem gambling by increased State regulation

Chapter 10 - Women and sole parents (PDF 253KB)

Woman and poverty
   Women and work
   Impact of part-time and casual work
   Women in retirement
   Child care
   Domestic violence
   Women in rural and regional areas
   Migrant women and poverty
Sole parents
   Low income sole parent families
   Sole parents and work
   Income support payments
   Child Support Scheme

Chapter 11 - Children in poverty (PDF 256KB)

Children in poverty - An Overview
Characteristics of children in poverty
   Sole parent families and couples with children
   Unemployment and low wages
   Families receiving government benefits
   Children with parents from non-English speaking background
Children living in poverty
The impact of poverty on children
Social and economic costs of child poverty
Responding to child poverty- National approach
   Initiatives to reduce the incidence and impact of child poverty

Chapter 12 - Youth and student issues (PDF 261KB)

Rates of poverty
The impact of poverty on young people
Youth labour force participation
   15 to 19 year olds
   20 to 24 year olds
   Unemployment rates
   Access to full-time employment
   Improving the transition from school to work
Income support
   Impact of activity testing and breaching on youth
   Youth and Centrelink
   UK Gateway to the New Deal program
Students and poverty
   Income support for studen
   Work commitments
   Cost of living
   Student debt
   Impact of poverty on students

Chapter 13 - Indigenous Australians (PDF 218KB)

Measuring Indigenous poverty
Nature and extent of Indigenous poverty and disadvantage
Addressing social and economic disadvantage
   Community Development Employment Projects
   Housing and infrastructure
   Indigenous children
   Indigenous youth issues
   The criminal justice system

Chapter 14 - Rural and regional communities (PDF 182KB)

The urban-rural/regional divide
Social and economic disparities
Addressing poverty and disadvantage in regional and rural areas
   Improved access to services
   Regional development strategies
   Job creation initiatives
   Capacity building

Chapter 15 - Older people, migrants and refugees (PDF 238KB)

Older people
   Factors contributing to poverty of older Australians
   Changing industrial conditions
   Unemployment, underemployment and low wages
   Changing nature of families
   Government income support
   Inadequate retirement income
   Housing and aged care
   Ill health and disability
   Rate payments
Migrants and refugees
   Protection Visas and eligibility for entitlements
   Waiting periods for migrants accessing income support
   Employment and housing issues

Chapter 16 - People with a disability (PDF 423KB)

Poverty and disability
Support and assistance for people with disabilities
Funding for disability services
   Level of unmet need
Factors relating to poverty and disadvantage
   Income support and related payments
   Housing and accommodation assistance
   Access to information
Support and assistance for carers
   Financial security for carers
   Respite care

Chapter 17 - Service providers (PDF 249KB)

Community service sector
   Provision of services
   Increasing demand for services
   Impact on welfare services of people being breached
   Emerging and complex problems from people seeking assistance
   Impact on welfare workers of increasing demands
   Beyond emergency support - longer term outcomes
   Early intervention and prevention programs
   Cooperation and increased community capacity
Local government
   Access to and attitude of Centrelink staff
   Pressure on agencies from people directed by Centrelink
   Centrelink liaison with community sector

Chapter 18 - Future directions (PDF 220KB)

The need for a national strategy
   Whole of government approach
A national approach to poverty alleviation
   Agreed national poverty benchmark measure
   National anti-poverty strategy
   Ireland's National Anti-Poverty Strategy
   Consultative mechanisms to develop strategy
   National poverty reduction targets
   Establishment of an anti-poverty body
Structural changes aimed at reducing poverty
Social and economic sustainability

Balancing the picture on poverty (PDF 251KB)
Appendix 1 - List of public submissions, tabled documents and other additional information authorised for publication by the committee (PDF 143KB)
Appendix 2 - Witnesses who appeared before the committee at public hearings (PDF 155KB)
Appendix 3 - Bibliography (PDF 128KB)

For further information, contact:

Committee Secretary
Senate Standing Committees on Community Affairs
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: +61 2 6277 3515
Fax: +61 2 6277 5829
Email: community.affairs.sen@aph.gov.au