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Inequality is growing in Australia: ACOSS report

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“The indications are that more people are hitting hard times and falling into poverty,” said CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.

“At last count it was estimated that over 2.2 million people in Australia were living in poverty and 105,000 were homeless, but we believe these numbers are likely to be higher.

“Preliminary figures from our 2011 Community Sector Survey show the number of people accessing and being turned away from services is increasing, especially in the areas of disability, housing and homelessness, and youth welfare services.”

The largest increase is in area of financial support and/or emergency relief, which has seen a 47 per cent increase in the numbers of people turned away.

The data is still being analysed and ACOSS expects to release a comprehensive report in April.

Dr Goldie said that ACOSS will use its National Conference this week to highlight these issues, and provide a forum for community groups to find ways to deal with these growing problems and reverse the current trend of growing inequality.

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