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Victorian Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing, Mental Health and Equality, the Hon. Martin Foley, said increased expectation for the scale and quality of government services poses challenges in the delivery of government services.
“There is the fundamental problem with of a lack of systematic, long term investment in the local community support services,” he said.
“There’s the need to help people in more sophisticated ways, including helping people to participate and engage with their own community because factors such as isolation and poor health, can be just as damaging to someone as lack of income.”
Mr Foley said that focus should now fall on “early intervention, coordinated linked up services and person centred responses” in addressing entrenched disadvantage.
Also speaking at the event, Productivity Commission Commissioner, Alison McClelland, said that social institutions and the economy not functioning correctly, including job generation, contributes to disadvantage.
“It is a combination of how these come together to support families falling into disadvantage, or when they do, how we can have effective services ready to give them the detailed assistance required,” she said.
The Smith Family, Head of Research, Anne Hampshire, and CEDA report contributor said that educational support during and after school is vital in giving a person living in entrenched disadvantage the opportunity to exit, but there was still more to be done.
“There is no one size fits all when it comes to finding a solution…but…cross-sectoral, cross-jurisdiction corporates, government, not-for-profit sectors working together are the ways forward,” she said.
Dr Fransisco Azpitarte, Ronald Henderson Research Fellow, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economics and Social Research and The Brotherhood of St Laurence as well as CEDA report contributor said that those who are chronically poor are more likely to fall back into poverty and that one-off intervention is not enough.
“If you want to help people to leave poverty, it is not enough for just a one off intervention; you need to follow people over time…these are structural interventions,” he said.
“Schools play a key role in providing targeted services, because they have the information and can tell you better than no one who is at risk of disadvantage.”
Addressing entrenched disadvantage in Australia was released on 21 April, 2015. Click here to read more about the report and see upcoming events for the report.