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Life gets tougher for Australian families.

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media release

jenny macklin mp shadow minister for families and community services shadow minister for indigenous affairs and reconciliation federal member for jagajaga


Life's not a bed of roses for many Australian families despite the economic boom.

Extreme social disadvantage is now entrenched in many parts of Australia, according to Professor Tony Vinson’s report for Jesuit Social Services and Catholic Social Services Australia, Dropping Off the Edge.

Professor Vinson has found that just 1.7 percent of postcodes around Australia account for more than seven times their share of the factors that cause intergenerational poverty.

This poverty has been entrenched for years. The more reports we hear of families struggling, the less the Government seems to care. The Prime Minister has stopped listening.

Even with fifteen years of economic growth, children in places like West Heidelberg in my own electorate, Kempsey in NSW, and Hervey Bay in Queensland still miss out on basic education, health and care.

A child missing out like this is just heartbreaking in this day and age.

This report comes on top of ACOSS’ Annual Report, released today which shows that 1.5 million Australians sought help from welfare agencies last year -- up 4 per cent on 2005.

One of the big messages of today’s reports is that we need to get in early to give children a good start to life.

The report notes the ‘particularly strong link between intergenerational poverty and low educational attainment’ and says this can be turned around through improved early education programs.

Labor already understands this link, and with our $450 million a year plan to give every four-year old access to 15 hours of early learning a week, we want to do something to help.

We will fully fund 1,500 new places in early childhood education and pay half of up to half of the HECS of 10,000 early childhood who work in disadvantaged areas.

Families need a lot more help to get on track, stay on track and get ahead. The Prime Minister has stopped caring anymore.

More info: Moksha Watts 0409 774 266

26 February 2007