Implications for policy
The social exclusion monitor, for the first time, provides benchmark data on the prevalence, depth and persistence of social exclusion in Australia.
We found that one in four Australians experiences social exclusion (using the latest 2010 data). For most people this experience is short.
However, more importantly for social policy, one million Australians (about one in 20) experience multiple barriers to full participation in society, or deep social exclusion. For many this situation will persist for three years or more.
How should policy change?
The Brotherhood of St Laurence believes that a strong economy and inclusive society should go hand in hand. Social exclusion is best addressed through economic growth policies that focus on employment together with social services, including health, housing, youth and aged-care services, that build people’s capacities to fully participate in society.
Our social exclusion monitor shows how deep social exclusion involves overlapping factors, including gender, age, country of birth, Indigenous background, health, household type, housing and education. Good policies will concentrate on these interrelated factors to improve opportunities and quality of life among disadvantaged Australians.
Reducing social exclusion can also mean extra investment for some people and in some localities. Support services that are better integrated and personalised are sometimes necessary to prevent crises, such as homelessness, and to build resilience and social connections among Australians. This approach benefits the whole community while also ensuring that those in greater need get more.
What the Brotherhood is doing
The Brotherhood of St Laurence will use the findings of the social exclusion monitor to advocate for social policy reform.
The Brotherhood has many other research projects that seek to address social exclusion. See the social inclusion pages from the Research and Policy Centre for further projects and publications.
The Brotherhood also puts its ideas into practice and runs innovative programs that aim to reduce social exclusion, including:
The social exclusion monitor is the work of the Brotherhood of St Laurence and the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research (MIAESR).