Image by Jonathan Kho
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"As a developed country, Australia has a moral responsibility to help those among us who are battling to keep their head above water.” Kingi Williams, CEO

OUR NEED

To understand the need for Daystar Foundation’s work, it helps to be aware that 38% Australia’s homeless are under 25 years, including 15,872 children under 12 years and 9,955 aged between 12 and 18 years. The latest available estimates from the ABS suggest that 731,300 children or 17.4% of all Australian children, live in poverty. Most come from jobless families. Figures such as these reflect a breakdown in society, with the effects felt in most schools and their communities.

How Poverty is defined in Australia

The definition of Poverty is living without the basic necessities of life – food, clothing or housing.


The organisation for economic cooperation and development (OECD) defines the poverty line as half the median household income of the total population.

In Australia this translates to a single adult living on less than $426.30 a week. For a couple with 2 children, it is $895.22 a week.

(pre covid-19) 2020 research findings led by the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) found of the three million people living in poverty in Australia, 731,000 are children and a total of 1.2 million are under the age of 24.

Poverty in Australia, 2020, ACOSS/UNSW Report

People living in poverty not only have low levels of income; they also miss out on opportunities and resources that most take for granted, such as adequate health and dental care, housing, education, employment opportunities, food and recreation.

The main causes of poverty

  • Unemployment.

  • Education.

  • Inflation.

  • Poor utilisation of resources.

  • Debt.

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In addition to homelessness and poverty, the everyday problems faced by these children and their families include:

  • Bullying

  • Depression

  • Suicide

  • Juvenile crime

  • Loneliness

  • Domestic violence and sexual abuse

  • Family breakdowns and lack of father figure

  • Low self-esteem and loss of identity

  • Drug and alcohol abuse

  • Isolation due to physical and mental disabilities.

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Faced with such problems, the academic performance and hence, future potential of these young people suffers greatly. Several comprehensive research studies present data on the educational performance of children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. It is clear from these studies that such children and young people are more likely to exhibit the following patterns in terms of educational performance:

  • Lower levels of literacy, numeracy and comprehension

  • Lower retention rates (leave school earlier)

  • Higher levels of problematic school behaviour (e.g. truancy)

  • More likely to have difficulties with their studies and display negative attitude towards school

  • Less successful transition to labour market.

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The academic and social problems facing these young people are taken with them as they enter adulthood, leading to further negative behaviour and costs to society. Daystar Foundation is committed to action to break this destructive cycle and to give our young people the opportunity for a better future.


There are a number of economic and socio-demographic factors which support the need for Daystar Foundation’s work in the Fairfield, Campbelltown and Liverpool LGAs.

 

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THE FAIRFIELD LGA is:

  • Ranked as having the highest relative socio-economic disadvantage in Greater Sydney and the fourth highest in NSW

 

  • Placed in the second lowest decile in Australia for Economic Resources
     

  • Accounts for 50% of all humanitarian youth arrivals in the Greater Sydney area
     

  • Culturally diverse, with 54% of the population born overseas; 25% having arrived less than 10 years ago. 71% of the community speak a language other than English at home. A large minority of the community (21%) are Buddhist.

THE CAMPBELLTOWN LGA is:

  • Ranked as having the fourth highest relative socio-economic disadvantage in Greater Sydney and the 39th highest in NSW

  • Placed in the third lowest decile in Australia for Economic Resources.

THE LIVERPOOL LGA is:

  • Ranked the fifth highest relative socio-economic disadvantage in Greater Sydney and the 41st highest in NSW

  • Placed in the fourth lowest decile in Australia for Economic Resources.

In 2016, South West Sydney reported 9,965 unemployed youth (15.1% of labour force). 2,025 were aged 15-17 years (23.4% of labour force) and 2,878, aged 18-19 years (20.6% of labour force).


In March 2018, there were 2,548 people on Youth Allowance in South West Sydney. There were 3,573 people on youth ‘jobactive’ caseloads, representing the highest number of unemployed youth.

Sources:
ABS, Estimating Homelessness, 2016
ABS, Census of Population and Housing, 2011 and 2016
ABS, Regional Statistics, LGA 2017, 2011-2017, Annual 2011 to 2017 (2018)
ABS, Regional Statistics, ASGS 2016, 2011-2017, Annual 2011 to 2017 (2018)
MYAN NSW Youth Settlement Snapshot 2016-2017
.id Fairfield City Communities of interest (2018)