Multi-dimensional poverty in Australia and the barriers ill health imposes on the employment of the disadvantaged
A little over one million individuals in Australia between the ages of 24 and 64 years are in Freedom poverty – they have low family income, and have either poor health or an insufficient level of education. These individuals are some of the most disadvantaged in society due to their multiple capability restrictions. Current political rhetoric focused on reducing the number of individuals out of the labour force to improve their living standards may offer a means of improving the lives of these most disadvantaged individuals. Indeed, of those in Freedom poverty, 80% are not in employment. But these individuals also have poor health and/or a poor education and these capability limitations may act as barriers to their labour force participation. Indeed, 49% of individuals in freedom poverty who were out of the labour force cited ill health as the reason for this (39% cited their own ill health, and 10% cited another's ill health). Not only will these individual's ill health act as a barrier to their engaging in the labour force, but ill health will also contribute to reduced quality of life. Political promises to improve the lives of citizens should not focus narrowly upon increasing labour force participation rates, but should take a holistic view of the lives of individuals taking note in particular of how health may be restraining their quality of life.
Volume (Year): 40 (2011)
Issue (Month): 6 ()
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