‘Indigenous wellbeing is shaped by the wellbeing of the community. In recent years there have been improvements in a range of areas of wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
Indigenous home ownership has risen over the past decade, from 34% in 2006 to 38% in 2016, household overcrowding has decreased, and fewer Indigenous Australians rely on government payments.
Education remains important in helping to overcome Indigenous disadvantage.
The employment gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians narrows as education levels increase.
There is no gap in the employment rates between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians with a university degree.
Despite these improvements, some Indigenous Australians experience widespread social and economic disadvantage.
One in 5 Indigenous Australians live in remote areas and fare worse than those in non-remote areas. They had lower rates of school attendance and employment, and were more likely to live in overcrowded conditions and in social housing.
Members of the Stolen Generations are another particularly disadvantaged group.
They were more likely than other Indigenous Australians to have been incarcerated, receive government payments as their main source of income, experience actual or threatened physical violence or experience homelessness.”
AIHW spokesperson Mr. Dinesh Indraharan.
” Many factors contribute to the welfare of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
Welfare is closely linked to health and is influenced by social determinants such as education, employment, housing, access to services, and community safety. Contextual and historical factors are particularly important for understanding the welfare of Indigenous Australians.”
” Home ownership has an opportunity to formulate the next wave of transformative success for indigenous people.
Home ownership is a key pillar on the journey to economic independence for indigenous Australians, providing not only stable housing but also an anchor from which to build an asset base for current and future generations and equity for other investment and business opportunities.”
Dagoman-Wardaman man and chairman of Indigenous Business Australia Eddie Fry oversees a home loan program that is helping increasing numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people into home ownership. See Part 2 Below
The latest two-yearly snapshot of national wellbeing uses high-quality data to show how Australians are faring in key areas, including housing, education and skills, employment, social support and justice and safety.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report Australia’s welfare 2019 was launched today in Canberra by Senator the Hon. Anne Ruston, Minister for Families and Social Services.
The report shows that record employment and an increase in education levels are contributing to Australia’s wellbeing but challenges facing the nation include housing stress among low-income earners.
Download the Report and Snapshot
‘Australia’s welfare 2019 demonstrates the value in continuing to build an evidence base that supports the community, policy makers and services providers to better understand the varying and diverse needs of Australians,’ said AIHW spokesperson Mr. Dinesh Indraharan.
‘Australia is in the top third of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries for a range of measures, including life satisfaction and social connectedness.
‘In 2018, 74% of people aged 15–64 were employed—the highest annual employment rate recorded in Australia. In July 2019 the female and total employment rates remain at record levels.’
The proportion of Australians working very long hours (50 or more per week) declined from 16% to 14% and more Australians are using part-time work to balance work with other activities including caring responsibilities.
However, in December 2018, about 9% of workers were underemployed, or unable to find as many hours of work as they would like. One in 9 families with children had no one in the family who was employed.
Generally, the higher a person’s level of education, the more opportunities they have in their working life.
‘Between 2008 and 2018 the proportion of students staying in school until Year 12 rose from 69% to 81% for males and from 80% to 89% for females,’ Mr Indraharan said.
‘In 2018, 65% of Australians aged 25–64 had a non-school qualification at Certificate III level or above. This is up from 55% in 2009.’
Australia has high levels of civic engagement with 97% of eligible people enrolled to vote in 2019—up from 90% in 2010 and strong rates of volunteering (contributing 743 million hours a year). But an estimated 1 in 4 Australians are currently experiencing an episode of loneliness – with people who live alone, young adults, males and people with children more likely to feel lonely.
Finding affordable housing remains a challenge for many Australians, with more people spending a higher proportion of their incomes on housing than in the past and fewer younger people owning their own homes.
‘More than 1 million low-income households were in housing stress in 2017-18, where they spent more than 30% of their income on rent or mortgage repayments,’ Mr Indraharan said.
There has been little change in income inequality since the mid-2000s—though it is higher now than it was in the 1980s—and wealth is more unequally distributed than income.
Most crime rates have fallen in recent years but Australia ranked in the bottom third of countries for people feeling safe walking alone at night.
‘Survey data shows rates of partner and sexual violence have remained relatively stable since 2005, while rates of total violence have fallen. However, the number and rate of sexual assault victims recorded by police has risen each year since 2011,’ Mr. Indraharan said.
Welfare services and support for people in need
Australian governments spent nearly $161 billion on welfare services and support in 2017-18, including $102 billion on cash payments to specific populations, $48 billion on welfare services and $10 billion on unemployment benefits. Per person spending on welfare increased an average of 1.3% a year—from $5,287 per person in 2001–02 to $6,482 in 2017–18.
Over the past 2 decades, there has been a notable fall in the number of people aged 18–64 receiving income support—down from 2.6 million in 1999 to 2.3 million in 2018. Put another way, in 1999, 22% of Australians aged 18–64 received income support, but this fell to 15% in 2018.
- 1.2 million people (or 3 in 10 older people) received aged care services
- 803,900 people were in social housing
- 288,800 people were supported by Specialist Homeless Services
- 280,000 people used specialist disability support services under the National Disability Agreement
- 172,000 people were active participants in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (at June 2018)
- 159,000 (or 1 in 35) children aged 0–17 received child protection services.
incarcerated, receive government payments as their main source of income, experience actual or threatened physical violence or experience homelessness.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey #HaveYourSay :
More indigenous Australians than ever are homeowners, fewer live in overcrowded accommodation and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who rent are slowly shifting away from social housing in favour of private properties.
Figures to be published on Wednesday by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare show almost two in five indigenous Australians were homeowners at the last census — of those, 12 per cent owned their home outright and 26 per cent had a mortgage. The number of indigenous households where the home is paid off or mortgaged has reached an estimated 263,000.
The rate of home ownership among indigenous Australians has gradually increased since 2006, while the home ownership rate among non-indigenous Australians has decreased slightly over the same period.
In 2006, 34 per cent of indigenous Australians owned their home or were paying it off.
By 2011 that figure had climbed to 36 per cent and at the 2016 census, 38 per cent of indigenous Australians either owned their homes outright or were paying off a mortgage.
In contrast, the percentage of non-indigenous Australians who either owned their home or were paying it off declined from 68 per cent in 2006 to 66 per cent in 2016.
Dagoman-Wardaman man and chairman of Indigenous Business Australia Eddie Fry oversees a home loan program that is helping increasing numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people into home ownership.
IBA approved more than $1bn in home loans to indigenous Australians over the past five years.
In 2014-15, IBA approved 517 home loans to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. In 2017-18, the number of home loans approved by IBA was a record 917.
“Home ownership has an opportunity to formulate the next wave of transformative success for indigenous people,” Mr Fry said.
“Home ownership is a key pillar on the journey to economic independence for indigenous Australians, providing not only stable housing but also an anchor from which to build an asset base for current and future generations and equity for other investment and business opportunities.”
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report used census data to show that, between 2006 and 2016, the proportion of indigenous households living in social housing fell from 29 per cent to 21 per cent.
The proportion of indigenous Australians renting privately increased from 27 per cent to 32 per ce