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Massive income gap and no cash for essentials

A poverty statement released today by the Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) shows a massive income gap between Australia’s poorest and richest households.

It also reveals many households have virtually no money left from their weekly income for essentials such as education and transport.

The top 20% of households earn an average of $225,350. This is ten times the income of the bottom 20% whose average household income is $22,500.

77% of Australians believe the gap between rich and poor Australians is widening.

The statement also looks at what is left after rent, food and power is paid for. It reveals a single pensioner living in regional Queensland has only $16 per week left for such things as transport, clothing and phone.

A sole parent with two children will only have $50 per week for these essentials. And they also have to pay for such things as education, uniforms and dental care.

QCOSS President Karyn Walsh said it is clear that many Queenslanders are missing out on life’s essentials.

“QCOSS would like to see all levels of government work with the community sector to not only reduce and eliminate poverty but prevent it from occurring in the first place.

“This is not unrealistic. It can happen,” said Ms Walsh

QCOSS said some people mistakenly think that only ‘absolute poverty’ (complete lack of the basics –food, clothing and shelter) is the sole issue to address.

The report suggests the concept of ‘relative poverty’ is a more constructive measure by which international researchers, organisations and some governments are looking at poverty.

‘Relative poverty’ means the person or household is “unable to afford the goods and services needed to enjoy a normal or mainstream lifestyle in the country in which they live.”

The statement comes at the beginning of Anti Poverty Week in Australia.