A new report has warned the growth in living standards for families will dramatically slow over the next decade — and get worse for single parents. Living Standard Trends in Australia shows some people have done much better out of the recent economic boom than others, which will likely leave those who are doing it tough even further behind.
The National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling report found that living standards for single parents and the unemployed will go backwards and inequality rise over the next 10 years.
Commissioned by Anglicare Australia, the report examines living standards in Australia over the past decade and provides a 10 year forecast. It found living standards for all income levels had increased in the past 10 years, but the rate of growth was not shared equally by all.
Since 2004, the top 20 per cent of households had enjoyed growth in living standards of 28.4 per cent but for the bottom 20 per cent of households that growth was only 15.1 per cent. During that time, the gap in living standards between the richest and poorest households widened by 13 per cent.
Using Australian Bureau of Statistics data, the research predicts the next 10 years will see single parents doing it even tougher.. “People who are on the lowest incomes are already doing so badly,” Anglicare executive director Kasy Chambers tells ABC. “We know that the kind of income for someone who’s on Newstart for example, this report looks at that after housing and everything they are spending, these are very low incomes. So when you don’t have a lot to start with, it’s actually really hard to go backwards.”
The report’s author, Ben Phillips, says changes made to family and single parent payments in the last two federal budgets were a major factor in the forecasted decline. “These are the main choices that government are making at this point, and what we’re seeing is that that is translating into lower living standards in the coming years.”
The report found changes to the single parents’ payment – to move sole parents onto the lower Newstart allowance when their youngest child turns eight – had not increased employment.