New research from Anglicare shows Queensland’s most vulnerable people are being pushed further towards poverty as secure employment and affordable housing drift further out of reach.
The Anglicare Jobs Availability Snapshot 2018, released during Anti-Poverty Week (October 14-20), found more than four people were competing for every entry-level job vacancy in Queensland.
The research follows this year’s Rental Affordability Snapshot, which found many low-income earners spent 50 to 70 per cent of their income on rent, leaving them with little money for food or health care.
Anglicare Southern Queensland Executive Director, Karen Crouch, said many Queenslanders were just one step away from hardship.
“Having a job and roof over your head are two simple things that many people take for granted,” Ms Crouch said.
“Unfortunately, a growing number of Queenslanders are struggling to access employment and affordable housing, leaving them drifting further and further towards poverty.
“Our research found that for every entry-level job vacancy in Queensland, there were 4.77 job seekers competing for it, which is above the national average of 4.26.
“This situation is getting worse for entry-level workers. Our research found that entry-level jobs made up just 14 per cent of vacancies across Australia.
“Work is about more than income. It’s one of the most important ways we can participate in our communities. It offers a sense of belonging, security and identity.
“It’s an anchor that allows us to look after ourselves and our loved ones, pursue our passions and start a family.
“But our employment system is not working. Instead of helping people find work, they’re forced to compete for jobs that just aren’t there.
“If we’re serious about helping people avoid poverty, we need raise the rate of Newstart and Youth Allowance. People looking for work should not be trapped in poverty while they search for a job.
“As a country we also need to plan for our future workforce needs and develop training that actually leads to work.
“For example, the aged care and disability sectors are growing – if the nation planned for its future workforce, we could create pathways for people to build careers in these areas.”
Ms Crouch said introducing measures to improve housing affordability would also help to tackle poverty and inequality.
“Low income earners are facing significant rental stress in Queensland. When a single person earning minimum wage is spending 59 per cent of their income on rent, they are just one step away from homelessness,” she said.
“Anyone who walks through Brisbane’s CBD will know we have seen a significant increase in people sleeping rough in recent years. It’s time for all levels of government to work together to provide a clearer pathway to safe, secure and affordable housing.”Jump to next article