Published May 20, 2023, 11:20 a.m. by Monica Louis
The Federal Government has been slammed by the Opposition for its handling of the economy, as more Australians fall into poverty.
Shadow finance minister Jim Chalmers said the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) were "very worrying" and showed the Government was "out of touch" with the reality of life for many people.
"We've got more people in poverty now than we did when the Liberals came to office," Chalmers told 7news Australia.
"We've got more people working part-time and fewer people working full-time. And we've got families doing it tough right around the country."
The ABS report found that 2.2 million Australians were living below the poverty line in 2017, up from 2.1 million in 2016.
The poverty line is defined as $400 a week for a single adult, or $841 a week for a family of four.
Chalmers said the increase was "entirely unacceptable" and blamed the Government's economic policies for the situation.
"This is a direct result of this Government's choices," he said.
"They've cut income support for families, they've cut jobs in the public sector, they've made it harder for people to get into work, and they've given big tax handouts to big business and the top end of town."
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the Government was "committed to ensuring all Australians have the opportunity to get ahead" and pointed to recent tax cuts and increased funding for welfare and job programs.
"We know that there are more people in work than ever before, we know that wages are growing, and we know that our economy is strong," Frydenberg told 7news Australia.
"But we also know that there are more people who are doing it tough, and that's why we're focused on ensuring that we provide the support that they need."
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