Greens call for agency to deal with chronic disadvantage

GREENS MP Jan Barham has called for the formation of an agency dedicated to lifting long-term disadvantaged postcodes out of the gutter.

She noted the recent Dropping off the Edge report that revealed both the Iluka (2466) and rural Northern Rivers (2469) postcodes had been among the state's most disadvantaged for more than a decade.

Both postcodes were ranked among the 2% most disadvantaged in NSW, with Casino (2470) and Coraki (2471) falling into the 5% band.

"While the list of indicators for each study has increased and been updated - for example, to include internet access - the findings have been remarkably consistent," Ms Barham said.

"A small number of communities in NSW experience a high level of disadvantage and have done so for long periods, which indicates that the disadvantages are well entrenched."

The research showed those living in the 3% most disadvantaged postcodes were 3.6 times more likely to have been in prison and three times more likely to experience long-term unemployment.

They were also nearly three times as likely to suffer domestic violence and twice as likely to have a disability or significant mental health problem.

The report's author, Professor Tony Vinson, called for the establishment a single agency to work in areas that displayed chronic disadvantage.

Ms Barham said the agency could be run outside of government through a private enterprise the community trusted.

"Government needs to focus its decision-making on the wellbeing of people and communities by measuring what matters in people's lives and targeting resources and services to those areas that have been demonstrated clearly as being in the greatest need," she said. -APN NEWSDESK



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