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Child Poverty

1 in 6 children - nearly 600,000 children - are living in poverty in Australia

The number of children living in poverty is a disturbing and growing human rights issue in Australia.  While Australia continues to thrive as one of the most prosperous countries in the world, an increasing number of our youngest are being left behind. Although Bob Hawke's 1987 promise that 'no child will be living in poverty by 1990' resulted in a substantial reduction in child poverty during the 1980s and 1990s, this issue has re-emerged in the 2010s as a major social policy concern due to an increase in child poverty during these years.

The most dramatic figures show that poverty among single parent families has increased by 15% since 2001.

The ACOSS Poverty in Australia report found nearly 600,000 or 17.3% of children are living below the poverty line. Meanwhile, the United Nations have raised serious human rights concerns about the treatment of our children, particularly those who are disadvantaged and vulnerable.


ACOSS Policy Forum: Turning the tide on child poverty in Australia

ACOSS, with our members and partners, has been working to find a solution to reduce this appalling figure.

On 12th November 2013, we held a Policy Forum entitled Turning the tide on child poverty in Australia.

This landmark event was extremely well received, with over 100 attendees and a broad range of media coverage.

Follow the Hashtag Twitter stream #childpoverty here.

You can download the presentations by our speakers below.

Session 1: Beneath the Surface: National Trends and the lived Experience of Child poverty in Australia

Session 2: No Child's Play: How to improve the wellbeing of our most disadvantaged children

  • Address by Dr Airini, Head of the School of Critical Studies in Education at the University of Auckland

With thanks to Adele Horin for facilitating Session 2. We also gratefully acknowledge the support of Early Chidlhood Australia as event sponsor for this forum. Video footage of the event will be available on this website soon.


Media Release and Articles

Joint ACOSS/UNICEF Statement:

Tackling rising child poverty must be core purpose of 44th Parliament and Commission of Audit

Media Coverage:

The Issue: Child Poverty - Sunday Nights Program, ABC Radio National, Sunday November 10, 2013

Guests on the panel discussion included:

  • Cassandra Goldie, CEO,Australian Council of Social Services
  • Richard Wilkinson, author of The Spirit Level
  • Bianca Pizzorno, single mother with twin boys, one of whom has Aspergers
  • Lin Hatfield Dodds, National Director, UnitingCare Australia

UNICEF and community groups call on Parliament to help 600,000 Australian children in poverty
By social affairs correspondent Norman Hermant, ABC Online November 12, 2013

Calls for new Parliament to focus on child poverty
Norman Hermant, ABC Radio National AM, Tuesday November 12, 2013

Child poverty in Australia on the rise: ACOSS
ABC Radio National Breakfast, Tuesday November 12, 2013