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Thursday, 22 May 1980
Page: 3210


Dr Everingham asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 20 February 1 980:

(   1 ) Is be able to state what is the estimated world average income including estimated market value of non-marketed consumption per person over 1 5 years of age.

(2)   What is the world average ratio of persons under 1 5 to persons over 1 5 years of age.

(3)   What are the comparable figures for Australia included in parts ( 1 ) and (2).

(4)   What is the estimated number of persons (a) in the world and (b) in Australia receiving less than (i) the world average income, (ii) the estimated world minimum subsistence income, (iti) the income of a supporting parent and one child both dependent solely on Social Security Department benefits in Australia, assuming that one third of the single parent family income goes to the child and (iv) the poverty line income recognised by the Australian Government for persons (A) aged under 15 and (B) aged over 15 years.

(5)   What is the estimated cost of providing world minimum subsistence income to those not receiving it (a) in terms of current market prices for the cheapest available resources and (b) after use of technical aid now available to maximise self-sufficiency.

(6)   What percentage of the costs in part (5) could be met by increasing Australia's foreign aid to 0.7 per cent of Australia's gross national product.


Mr Peacock - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

World average income is based on the Gross National Product at Market Prices statistics which conceptually should include the value of Non-Marketed consumption. The figures related to the World Statistics have been converted from US to Australian Dollars using the applicable DAC Exchange Rate ( 1 977 $US 1 = SA0.90 17). 1 18 countries out of a total of 178 have per capita incomes below the world average.

The estimated cost of providing the World Average Income to those not receiving it could be met if those 60 countries who are above the World Average Income increased their Gross National Product by 66 per cent and allocated 40 per cent of it to Foreign Aid Programs. $15,994 million of aid was provided to Developing Countries and Multilateral Agencies by DAC Member Countries in 1978. This figure represents only 0.42 per cent of the estimated cost of ensuring that the 118 countries are in receipt of a per capita income equal to that of the World Average Income. In order to achieve parity it would be necessary to increase the volume of aid 239 times.

In detail:

(   1 ) The world average per capita income was $1,731 in 1977 (latest available statistics). If the population aged 15 years and under is excluded the income would amount to $2,708.

(   2 ) World average ratio of persons under 1 5 years of age to persons over 15 years of age is 1:1.8.

(3)   In 1977 Australia's Gross National Product per capita was $6,572 but, if the population under 15 years of age is excluded the income would amount to $8,952. The average ratio of persons under 15 years of age to persons over 15 years of age in Australia is 1:2.8. (4a) Of the total world population of 4047 million it is estimated that 2924 million persons are receiving less than the World Average Income. (4b) No one in Australia either in full time employment or, in receipt of social security, was on an income below that of the world average. Only 190,000 parttime workers in Australia are receiving incomes less than the world average. Figures relating to the estimated world minimum subsistence income are not available.

The Australian income of a sole parent, with one child both solely dependent on social security benefits was $3,344 per annum. Assuming that one-third of this income goes to the child the remaining two-thirds represents $2,230 per annum (which is well above the world average per capita income of $1,731). There are no 'poverty line ' income figures officially accepted by any Australian Government for either persons over or under 1 5 years of age.

(5)   Figures for world minimum subsistence income are not available but the estimated cost of providing the World Average Income of $ 1 ,73 1 to those not receiving it is $3,823,000 million.

(6)   If Australian Foreign Aid was increased to 0.7 per cent of Gross National Product only 0.008 per cent of the costs in part 5 could be met from this increase. It should be noted however that the World Average Income is not a clear measure of real poverty as costs of living (e.g. the cost of purchasing a standard basket of goods) vary greatly between countries. In many countries the purchasing power of an income of $1,731 would be extremely high. It is also inappropriate to equate development assistance with transfer payments made in domestic social service programs, since effectively applied development assistance contributes positively to self sustaining development. In the case of development assistance the long term rise in income should therefore be greater than the actual amount expended.







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