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Can we end disadvantage?

By David Hale - posted Tuesday, 2 June 2020

The Paul Ramsay Foundation has pledged to tackle disadvantage. The biggest foundation in Australia has already allocated 84 million dollars so far in 2020.

Can they tackle disadvantage?

For one, with about 3 million Australians living in poverty, according to the foundation, 84 million dollars is less than $30 per person.


It is not easy to create, "off-ramps", the term being used by the foundation, so people can escape poverty,

What is the foundation doing with the money? Some of the money will support the Smith Family's Learning for Life program. Providing help to students from low-income backgrounds.

If we look at the post-school employment, education and training results. We are told that, "79.6 percent of former students were engaged in employment, education or training, a year after leaving the program." It did get better later-on "the rate had increased to 84.2 percent for all former students and 74.2 percent for those from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds."

This is arguably the most important outcome of the program. How the students do post school, and for the rest of their lives.

Just comparing those fully engaged in work, 65.8% of those in the program vs 58.9% not in the program. The latter group are slightly older as well, meaning the program is helping people become fully engaged in work and sooner.

This off-ramp, however, is not going to help everyone escape poverty.


The numbers showed that almost 30% in the program, were not fully engaged in work. It also showed that 15.8% were not engaged in work or study or training, just after school.

The other off-ramps may have limits as well.

Support for research at places like the Sydney Policy lab, can only go so far.

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About the Author

David Hale is an Anglican University Lay Chaplain, staff worker for the Australian Student Christian Movement and a member of the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship.

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All articles by David Hale

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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