Single parents were significantly represented (46%) and there were over 2,500 children represented. The deprivation felt by the children of the respondents is clearly shown, and despite parents’ best efforts to shield children from their own disadvantage, it was likely that the severe financial constraints would impact their children’s quality of life and access to some basic educational, social and recreational items necessary to prepare them for community life. Without proper interventions, it will compromise the ability of these children to secure future employment, lead a flourishing life and make positive contributions to Australian society. Therefore, inadvertently keeping the children of disadvantaged families in long-term poverty, with high levels of social exclusion and dependency on government and community supports, is likely to have long term impacts.
As in previous studies, the impact of deprivation and the level of multiple deprivations is higher for those individuals on the lower paid Newstart Allowance and those on the Disability Support Pension (DSP).
Of statistical significance is the level of multiple deprivations felt by individuals on Newstart Allowance who reported having a disability or health problem. Utilising independent samples t-test, the mean deprivation of the Newstart Allowance cohort was significantly higher compared to the Disability Support Pension cohort. Likewise, and using the same analysis, the children of this Newstart Allowance sub-group were experiencing higher levels of deprivation than the children of parents on Disability Support Pension.
Respondent comments, however, strongly support a desire to be working and to contribute more effectively to their families and their community. There is no sense of entitlement from respondents. Overwhelmingly, comments show how hard the struggle is for people in their current situation, and point to the lack of options, responsive services, and their enduring poverty as barriers to making an active, valued and positive contribution to their communities.