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Working poor to enter a poverty blackhole.



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Australian Democrats Press Releases

Senator Andrew Bartlett Deputy Parliamentary Leader and Democrats Senator for Queensland Australian Democrats spokesperson for Family & Community Services

Dated: 05 April 2006

Press Release Number: qtpqfqlb Portfolio: Family & Community Services

Working Poor to Enter a Poverty Blackhole

Australian Democrats Senator, Andrew Bartlett said that research released today by Dr Barbara Pocock revealing that Australia's working poor can expect to stay entrenched in poverty their whole lives is set to become a reality for even more working Australians as the Government's welfare and IR changes kick in.

"The Senate inquiry into the Work Choices legislation clearly showed that in those states where Liberal State Governments had introduced similar legislation, the wages and living standards of certain groups of workers decreased over time," Senator Bartlett said.

"In Western Australia the average weekly total earnings of workers on AWAs decreased by $212.20 per week over two years and the gender pay gap increased by 9%."

"Additional pressure will be placed on Indigenous Australians, sole parents and people with disabilities in the context of changes to Welfare to Work arrangements and CDEP changes because their ability to bargain effectively and achieve fair conditions of employment will be further limited."

"Howard's battlers are being used as the sacrificial lamb in the Government's drive for ongoing productivity. Rather than implementing long-term solutions like tax reform, investing in infrastructure, skills development and innovation, the Government is damning many hard working Australians to a life of poverty."

"he Federal Government is refusing to acknowledge the reality of the growing wealth gap between rich and poor. It has shown a total lack of courage and leadership in refusing to accept a single one of the recommendations from the Senate Committee inquiry into poverty from 2004."

"The more this Government grabs power for itself and ignores the reality of growing poverty and indebtedness, the more social damage they are causing which will take years to overcome," Senator Bartlett concluded.