Stats show poverty is growing problem
Head of not-for-profit says issue increasingly impacts on children
THE number of children facing poverty in the Mt Druitt region is increasing, experts say.
Chief executive of not-forprofit Blacktown-based Marist Youth Care Cate Sydes said the reality was that over the past decade the struggle to overcome poverty “has gotten worse”.
“We’re seeing a new group of people arising in the poverty area which are single parents,” Ms Sydes said.
“The gender pay gap is increasing between females and males ... that impacts significantly on child poverty.”
Ms Sydes confirmed child poverty had become more serious, supporting findings of a report released during Anti-Poverty Week by the Australian Council of Social Service which stated 17.4 per cent of children in Australia were living in poverty — a 2 per cent in- crease in the 10 years to 2014.
The report also stated children from lone-parent families were most at-risk, with numbers increasing from 36.8 to 40.6 per cent.
“Families are already at crisis point so (the population) needs the State and Federal Governments to work together for a solution rather than doing piecemeal work,” Ms Sydes said, add- ing the cost of housing was the most challenging factor.
She said the organisation had been met with “enormous” numbers recently.
“Last year, our youth homelessness services saw the largest group they’ve ever seen, 480 young people ... in the last three months we’ve seen 207 cases of young people already homeless or at risk of homelessness,” Ms Sydes said.
Ms Sydes said while the Mt Druitt region had its challenges, it also had “some really fantastic kids” that wanted to get ahead and employers who wanted to support them.
She said while funding cuts from the State and Federal Government needed to be looked at, a priority had to be a wraparound of services and easing the pain felt by families.
The number of homeless is rising around Australia.