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Salvo Battlers Doing It Tough

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Extensive report reveals bleak reality of life for marginalised Australians

Today, The Salvation Army will release a disturbing poll that highlights the increasing needs and economic struggles experienced by their Emergency Relief clients seeking support.

“I can’t continue to live like this” is the title of the annual Economic Social Impact Survey which collected data from 2,406 clients across 262 Salvation Army centres across the country. The resultant data paints a bleak picture of entrenched and persistent poverty and disadvantage.

The report reveals that on average respondents paid $180 per week on accommodation expenses and then had just $125 to live on – that’s only $17.86 per day. Newstart allowance respondents had the least amount of money to live on after expenses were paid – approximately $27 - $50 less per week. That’s $9.57 per day to pay for utilities, food, transport, health, medicine, education, clothing and basic entertainment.

56% of respondents felt financially worse off than this time last year and 29% felt negative about their future financial prospects. 91% said they had less than $500 in savings in case of an emergency and 75% of respondents indicated they have had to cut down on basic necessities.

The survey also reveals:

  • 78% of respondents in private rental experienced extreme housing stress (59% of income spent on accommodation expenses)
  • 51% of those looking for work for at least 12 months
  • 25% went without at least one substantial meal a day
  • Children went without out-of-school activities (65%) and a home internet connection (62%)

Dr Bruce Redman said “this survey provides a snapshot of the people needing help from The Salvation Army and it’s a great concern that the most vulnerable people in our community are continuing to struggle in dire economic circumstances.”

“Through the generosity of the Australian public support for The Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal, the Salvos are able to assist around one million Australians every year. The national target for the Red Shield Appeal Doorknock weekend (30-31 May) is $9.5million, which is a significant part of an overall goal of $74 million for the Red Shield Appeal,” Dr Redman said.

To donate to the Red Shield Appeal call 13 SALVOS (13 72 58) or donate online.

Read the report


For further information or media comment please contact:

Dr Bruce Redman – Territorial Media Director
The Salvation Army – Australia Southern Territory (Vic., SA, Tas., WA & NT)
T.  03 8878 2448
M. 0417 537 950
E. bruce.redman@aus.salvationarmy.org