Anglicare Australia has launched research that points to growing inequality across the country and a fall in living standards for those on the lowest incomes. The research, by the University of Canberra’s National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM), investigated living standards across Australia. NATSEM’s report, Living Standard Trends in Australia, was launched at Anglicare's national conference in Canberra on 15 September.

“On election night in 2013 new Prime Minister Tony Abbott promised the Australian people, ‘We will not leave anyone behind’. But the combination of economic change and the public policies of Australian governments over the past ten years appear to be leaving certain groups of people further and further behind nonetheless,” Anglicare Australia’s executive director Kasy Chambers said.
Living Standard Trends in Australia examines the relative increases in living standards for different household types across Australia over the past ten years, and provides projections for the next ten.

Since 2004, households with the top 20 per cent of incomes enjoyed 28.4 per cent growth in living standards. For the bottom 20 per cent it was only 15.1 per cent. Projections for the next ten years are for 5.9 per cent further growth for the top group, with living standards staying flat, at best, for those on middle and lower middle incomes, and a fall in living standards for the lowest group of 4.5 per cent.

Households headed by persons receiving allowances such as the inadequate Newstart or the Youth Allowance can expect a significant fall of 10.4 per cent on average.

“As Leonard Cohen sings, ‘everybody knows the fight is fixed, the poor stay poor and the rich get rich.’ That is true of the past 10 years of vigorous growth. What this report tells us, however, is that the poor will not just stay poor. They are on track to get poorer,” Ms Chambers said.

“Australia has reached a watershed. We can continue to walk away from many of the most vulnerable and the most disadvantaged among us, as this research shows we are doing. Or we can commit now to ensuring our economy and our society gives everyone a fair go.”

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