Back home, the Salvation Army released a report today showing rising levels of poverty across the country.

The findings paint a bleak picture of struggling single-parent families who’ve been forced onto Newstart payments.

Katrina Mawer reports.


The results of the National Economic and Social Impact Survey are staggering.

The Salvation Army surveyed more than 2,700 people across 200 centres in Australia in their biggest study to date.

And found a significant increase in single parent families seeking help.

Major Neil Dickson, Salvation Army Spokesperson: “This recent survey has shown that a 12 per cent increase in families coming who are moved from parenting payments to Newstart.”

Seven per cent of the single parent families surveyed were homeless.

Forty per cent of respondents to the survey were single parents with children older than seven – the age where parents are now forced onto the lower-paying Newstart allowance.

Major Dickson says the dramatic increase in families needing help is evidence government payments don’t cover their basic needs.

Major Neil Dickson, Salvation Army Spokesperson: “That’s an indication that’s insufficient income for them to really meet the basic needs of a family and a household.”

The Salvation Army helped David Coat and his partner Paula out of a caravan park and into permanent accommodation after the birth of their son.

He says life on the poverty line is getting harder and harder.

David Coat, Salvation Army Recipient: “I think it’s more to do with not understanding what people on the poverty line go through. Life is getting harder and harder.

More than 50 per cent of parents revealed they had gone without meals to feed their children.

But the report also shows they are trying to provide a better standard of living for their family.

Katrina Mawer, QUT News.