Disrupting disadvantage: setting the scene

CEDA explores how Australia can adopt innovative new approaches to breaking the cycle of entrenched disadvantage.

This is the first in a series of research papers from CEDA on addressing entrenched disadvantage. We are tackling this subject because ensuring that our social compact remains reliable, robust and relevant for those who need it most is a key priority for CEDA.

The complex and multi-faceted nature of disadvantage results in multiple touchpoints with government services and service providers, including social security, housing, justice and child protection.

Disrupting disadvantage: setting the scene seeks to identify areas where disadvantage might be disrupted, and to use this as a starting point for a more systematic approach to addressing the problem.

The report recommends four ways forward to disrupt the cycle of disadvantage:

  • Mobilise data to help those at risk
  • Improve the navigation of services and supports
  • Invest in a stronger safety net
  • Evidence-based monitoring and implementation of new approaches.

CEDA’s purpose is to positively shape economic and social development for the benefit of all, and supporting a robust and reliable social safety net and social compact is a crucial part of this. The intractable nature of this issue and the lack of progress means this is an area that needs policy disruption.

Across the Australian community, most analyses of inequality agree on one thing – the need to focus policy efforts on the approximately 700,000 people who have been in income poverty for at least the last four years. In Connecting People with Progress, CEDA called this out as an area where Australia had not made enough progress despite 28 years of continuous economic growth.

Previous analyses of entrenched disadvantage, including CEDA’s 2015 report have tended to focus on aspects of entrenched disadvantage such as education and health, or populations where disadvantage is prevalent such as Indigenous Australians to analyse the problems and potential solutions. This report takes a different approach and focuses on the potential enablers of better policy and programs to address entrenched disadvantage in the future.

This work is being undertaken in three targeted reports over the course of 2019 to 2021. Disrupting disadvantage: setting the scene, released in November 2019, is the first in the series.

Disrupting disadvantage release events

Brisbane | 13 November 2019

Sydney | 14 November 2019 

Adelaide | 25 November 2019

Perth | 26 November 2019

Melbourne | 5 December 2019 


On the CEDA blog

Following the release of Disrupting disadvantage: setting the scene, CEDA is releasing a series of articles from leading thinkers in the field that explore different aspects of disadvantage in Australia. 

Young Australians and disadvantage: disrupting the cycle: The Smith Family Head of Research and Advocacy, Anne Hampshire

Disrupting housing insecurity: using technology to improve housing and homelessness outcomes: Infoxchange CEO, David Spriggs

If the best form of welfare is a job: disrupting disadvantage through employment: Anglicare WA Chief Executive Officer, Mark Glasson