AnglicareSA CEO Rev’d Peter Sandeman responded recently to the CEDA report  ‘Addressing entrenched disadvantage in Australia’, setting the scene for poverty in South Australia.

Rev’d Sandeman provided insights into northern Adelaide where AnglicareSA works closely with local communities, with a focus on the likely and current, impacts of the job losses in the automotive industry.

“We’ve been consulting with families in the North and we’ve identified some key trends amongst those who have lost their jobs” said Rev’d Sandeman.

“There’s been an increase in family stress and uncertainty about maintaining a family budget and keeping up with current commitments.

“Some families are already sacrificing food to keep their power on. Demand for free meals provided at our Food Barn in Elizabeth has increased from 80 to more than 140 meals per day.

“Early indications are that people are experiencing an increase in drug and alcohol use, gambling and relationship stress.”

There are a number of risk factors identified in those experiencing poverty – long term unemployment; living in a jobless household; living with a disability, mental illness or a chronic health condition; living in an area of high socio-economic disadvantage; being Aboriginal or simply being aged over 65.

“If you have more than one of these characteristics, chances are you will suffer entrenched disadvantage for part or all of your life” says Rev’d Sandeman.

“It’s clear to those of us who work closely with these communities, that unless interventions are effective and timely, the entrenched disadvantage in this area will rapidly increase.”

Holden has announced 270 workers will be made redundant from May 25.

AnglicareSA has been assisting workers to gain career and transition advice and are working with Beyond Auto to better coordinate support around workers and their families who are impacted by job losses.

However Rev’d Sandeman says more needs to be done from an economic development perspective.

“While we are pleased that the Federal Government has reinstated the $500m Automotive Transitional Scheme, given the reduction in production it is unlikely to be used.   I call upon the Federal Government to apply these funds to the diversification of existing companies and to attract new industry.”

Peter Sandeman CEO AnglicareSA