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Low income families in marginal electorates

As you are all no doubt aware this week is Anti-Poverty Week.

Having the start of Anti-Poverty Week coinciding with the first day of the election campaign has of course been a bit of a political opportunity.

John Howard introduced $34 Billion of tax cuts, but as both Bob and I were quick to point out - simply cutting taxes (or raising tax-free thresholds) is not really going to help out families on low incomes when it comes at the expense of investment in services ... and when its likely to put upward pressure on interest rates.

And as Bob pointed out in his Press Club speech today, tax cuts do nothing at all to help out pensioners - many of whom are now struggling to get by.

For many, the cost of housing is increasingly eating into their weekly finances. As National Shelter recently pointed out, almost 1.2 million Australian households are in "housing stress" and over 400,000 are in "extreme housing stress".

But simply releasing more land does not solve the problem of a lack of affordable housing (...contrary to what Kevin Rudd might have you believe). What we really need is a greater investment in public and community housing together with positive incentives for private investment in affordable housing. The big problem with a lot of the existing subsidies and incentives is that they tend to favor the upper end of the property investment market, rather than encouraging investment in affordable housing for low-income families.

More on this issue shortly...

Anyway, to help you all make the most of the opportunity provided by the pressure of an election to raise the issue of poverty in your local electorate, we've produced a quick table which analyses the number and percentage of low-income households in different marginal electorates.

The table combines the latest 2006 census data with 2004 electoral data - both provided to us by the Parliamentary Library.

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