Think-tank report gives conflicting view of national poverty

AN Institute of Public Affairs report conflicts with Australian Council of Social Service statements that poverty and inequality is growing.

As Anti-Poverty Week kicks off and ACOSS calls for a national plan to tackle the issue, the report found living standards for the nation's poorest citizens was improving.

Dr Mikayla Novak's "The good news on poverty: Things are getting better for the poor in Australia" stated the bottom 10% of income earners had increased their average annual real earnings by more than $5000 since 2000.

"On every front, living standards are improving for Australia's poorest citizens," Dr Novak said.

It also found the life expectancy of men with low socio-economic status in NSW rose by three years between 2001 and 2012, and by two years for females.

But ACOSS stated income and wealth had become more concentrated in the hands of fewer people over the last 20 years.

The organisation is calling for the development of a national plan to tackle growing poverty, including setting targets to ensure the incomes of the lowest income earners increase at least at the pace of those in the middle.

ACOSS warned at last count more than 2.5 million people were living in poverty in Australia, including more than 600,000 children.- APN NEWSDESK