Social Work and Social Policy

Poverty is defined as a deficit in the availability of adequate resources required for physical and mental healthy living (Carson & Kerr, 2018). The rise in poverty has been studied concerning the demographics and though assessment of different communities (Bourguignon & Chakravarty, 2019). This paper will focus on the vulnerability of communities to poverty and discuss how the Aboriginal community in Australia is affected by top precipitation into poverty. This case paper will also discuss the availability and the efficacy of the equity-based measures developed by the government and how the poverty of the group can be eliminated in Australian society.

Some groups in society are more vulnerable to poverty than others. The factors that determine this vulnerability are multiple and impact on the income, health, and overall quality of life of the individuals from these groups (Bowels et al., 2016). People of similar communities tend to live together in a society. The people living in remote areas are directly vulnerable to be pushed into poverty due to lack of adequate opportunities as well as resources. Lack of adequate education systems and poor neighbourhoods in remote locations affect the incidence and vulnerability of communities towards poverty (Carson & Kerr, 2018). Individuals belonging to a particular class or community that face systematic discrimination in society are also highly vulnerable to be poverty-ridden due to provision of limited opportunities, advancement options, lack of adequate resources, and societal prejudice (Bourguignon & Chakravarty, 2019). Along with social and communal divide dictating the narrative of vulnerability towards poverty, gender also plays an important role. Women, Transgenders, and people belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community are also increasingly susceptible to poverty. The cause of this divide in all the cases can therefore be generalized in terms of systematic discrimination, lack of opportunities, and generational poverty that renders certain groups more susceptible and vulnerable to the menace of poverty than others (De Fillips, 2016).

When it comes to the Indigenous population of Australia, the figures of the prevalence of poverty in the community draw a direct contrast. According to the Government of Australia, 30% of the Indigenous households do not have adequate income and are classified below the poverty line. This implies, that more than 120000 indigenous people are living below the poverty line (Hanna & Olken, 2018). According to the United Nations report, historical subjugation, assimilation and systematic expropriation of the indigenous communities in terms of their lands, territories, and resources results in pushing them towards poverty (Haveman, 2016). Further, it has also been deduced that the Indigenous groups are subjected to denial in the access of basic social services and decision making that limits their social participation, promotes stigma, and renders opportunities unavailable for the people belonging the community. However, in terms of the Aboriginal community of Australia, a major cause of poverty in conjunction with the above-stated factors is unemployment (Fernandez et al., 2019). According to the Government of Australia, the indigenous child poverty in the country is directly associated with the employment opportunities for the parents. The systematic oppression against the Indigenous families has been so restrictive that until 1991, more than 50% of the Aboriginal children did not have an earning parent precipitating the community as a whole towards poor socio-economic condition (Fernandez et al., 2019).

The access and equity-based agendas have been undertaken by the Commonwealth of Australia in correspondence with the State and the local governments to eradicate poverty by ensuring access to opportunities and equitable resource sharing for the Aboriginal population of the country (Blackman & Galluzz, 2016). A whole of government approach was suggested by the access and equity panel of the Government for the Indigenous population to promote their participation in decision making and promotion of partnerships (Government of Australia, 2012). A popular approach that has been undertaken by the government is through the policy “Closing the gap” that aims to reduce the existing disparity between the indigenous and non-indigenous groups of Australia. The policy aims to generate increased participation of the Indigenous groups and enhance their representation (Dawson et al., 2020). Further, the policy also promises to limit the literacy gap, healthcare access gap, and promote job opportunities for the Aboriginals on Australia. However, the efficacy of the policy in its holistic implementation for minimization of poverty has been debatable. The set goals for the policy for 2018 have not been achieved and further revised. Therefore, it becomes debatable if there is need for the government to introduce a better policy and alter the objectives to limit poverty and eradicate the gap that exists in the Indigenous and the non-Indigenous population of Australia (Dawson et al., 2020).

The most suitable way to eradicate poverty from the indigenous communities in Australia is to seek participation and assistance from the non-governmental organizations (Tomalin, 2018). The non-governmental organizations play a critical role in governance by assisting the remote communities like the Indigenous population of Australia by enhancing their literacy, promoting the government campaigns and policies, and also by application of interventions that can assist in overall upliftment of the community (Saleem & Donaldson, 2016). Therefore, a collaborative approach between the government and the NGOs can be seen as a suitable mitigation strategy to eradicate poverty in Australia that limits the Aboriginals from achieving their true potential through the promotion of opportunities and enhancing access (Tomalin, 2018). The NGOs will also be able to limit poverty by reaching remote locations and making a direct reach to ensure the application of incentives drawn out by the government (Dawson, 2020).

Poverty is a complex phenomenon that is impacted by various factors that make certain groups of society more vulnerable than others. This case report discusses the cause and consequences of poverty in the Aboriginal population of Australia and debates on the efficacy of closing the gap policy for poverty eradication. The paper also suggests the implementation of a collaborative intervention between the government and NGOs to ensure poverty limitation in the Aboriginal community of Australia. 

References for Poverty in Atsi Population

Blackman, T., & Galluzzo, A. (2016). Youth being wasted. Education, 97(5), 19.

Bourguignon, F., & Chakravarty, S. R. (2019). The measurement of multidimensional poverty. In Poverty, social exclusion and stochastic dominance (pp. 83-107). Springer.

Bowles, S., Durlauf, S. N., & Hoff, K. (Eds.). (2016). Poverty traps. Princeton University Press.

Carson, E., & Kerr, L. (2018). Australian social policy and human services. Cambridge University Press.

Dawson, J., Augoustinos, M., Sjoberg, D., Canuto, K., Glover, K., & Rumbold, A. (2020). Closing the gap: Examining how the problem of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage is represented in the policy. Australian Journal of Social Issues, 97(5), 19

DeFilippis, J. N. (2016). “What about the rest of us?” An overview of LGBT poverty issues and a call to action. Journal of Progressive Human Services, 27(3), 143-174.

Fernandez, E., Delfabbro, P., Ramia, I., & Kovacs, S. (2019). Children returning from care: The challenging circumstances of parents in poverty. Children and Youth Services Review, 97, 100-111.

Government of Australia (2012). Access and equity: Responsiveness of the Australian government.

Hanna, R., & Olken, B. A. (2018). Universal basic incomes versus targeted transfers: Anti-poverty programs in developing countries. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 32(4), 201-26.

Haveman, R. H. (Ed.). (2016). A decade of federal antipoverty programs: Achievements, failures, and lessons. Elsevier.

Saleem, Z., & Donaldson, J. A. (2016). Pathways to poverty reduction. Development Policy Review, 34(5), 671-690.

Tomalin, E. (2018). Religions, poverty reduction and global development institutions. Palgrave Communications, 4(1), 1-12.

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