Australia is a developed country but can you believe that its people, or to be exact, retirees, are the fourth poorest in the developed world? According to a report on poverty, the nation has the poorest unemployed people of any developed nation.
The key findings in the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development report revealed that:
1. Half the single retirees are living in poverty (defined as less than 50 per cent of average earnings).
2. 27% of all our retirees are living in poverty.
3. Number of single pensioners in poverty has risen by 4.8% in the last decade.
4. Unemployed are worse off than pensioners -- being rated as the poorest in any developed nation.
The pensioner poverty rate is a real disgrace and underlined the failure of the government. As for the unemployed, there is a sobering message with the number set to rise by 200,000 due to the economic turmoil.
The Rudd Government has moved to boost pension incomes this year, introducing a $500 allowance that is paid quarterly and raising the telephone allowance to $132 a year. Last week it announced a one-off $1400 lump sum pre-Christmas bonus for single pensioners and $2100 for couples to boost consumer spending. It also has an inquiry under way into raising the rate of the single pension currently set at $281 a week.
The unemployed have $50 a week less to live off than aged pensioners and they were left out of the Government's recent economic rescue package.