A NEW report mapping social disadvantage across the nation has found that, despite a wave of strong economic growth, Australia risks becoming divided by extremes of wealth and poverty.
The report, “Dropping off the Edge: The Distribution of Disadvantage in Australia”, was commissioned by Jesuit Social Services and Catholic Social Services Australia, and was tabled in Federal Parliament last week.
It has alerted the nation’s leaders to major patterns of disadvantage in a number of Australian communities.
The report found that despite high economic growth, some communities remain caught in a spiral of low educational achievement, high unemployment, poor health, high imprisonment rates and child abuse.
The report warns that, despite the extremely prosperous times for one segment of the community, another section is being left behind, posing a severe threat to the economic and social wellbeing of the nation.
Report project manager and associate director of Jesuit Social Services, Jesuit Father Peter Norden, said the report’s investigations established that extreme social disadvantage in Australia was real and measurable.
Fr Norden said many well-off Australians were oblivious to a troubled “remnant” of society that remains hidden behind the country’s rosy employment statistics.
He said the report was the third in a series on the issue written by Professor Tony Vinson from the University of Sydney.
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