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For many years, most countries all over the world have been faced with high levels of poverty. Individuals, international organizations such as the United Nations, humanitarian organizations like as USAID as well as governments of various countries have been striving at eliminating poverty amongst various societies. In Australia, approximately twenty five percent of people are believed to be living on less than one dollar a day. Additionally, more than one million five hundred thousand households are believed to be having only one working adult with a single source of income. This has resulted into low levels of disposable income for numerous households. Moreover, nearly twenty eights percent of the population is unemployed. Low levels of employment have resulted into increase in poverty.

Poverty affects many people in the society, for example, women, young children, people with disabilities as well as the elderly people. The negative impacts of poverty in the society are harsh and demeaning. Poverty often reduces the productivity of people and hence slow economic growth and development. It is thus advisable for governments to take appropriate measures to alleviate poverty.

A research study carried out by the government of Australia and Henderson in 2008 on poverty in Australia revealed that there are various factors that have contributed to the high levels of poverty in Australia (Australia & Henderson 2009). Some of the factors include high rates of unemployment, poor health status, low levels of education, socio-economic disparities, gender inequality between women and men and imbalance in regional growth and development.

Although various strategies have been deployed to reduce poverty in Australia, the number of poor people has been increasing year after year. The government and various policy makers have been arguing that the issue of poverty is a complex matter that cannot be easily solved.

In my view, despite the complexity of various issues in relation to poverty, appropriate prevention and control measures can be taken by governments to ensure that the level of poverty is greatly reduced.

This policy brief looks at the various ways in which the government of Australia can reduce poverty levels in the country. It suggests various policies that can be adopted by the government in its attempts to alleviate poverty as well as the various possible implications of the suggested policies or measures for reducing poverty in Australia.

This policy brief has been written by Mr. Pete Lawrence, the Deputy Director of Poverty Free Australia. Poverty Free Australia is a non-governmental organization that advocates for equitable regional development, involvement of the communities in national polices as well as lobbying the government to implement various polices than would help in improving the livelihoods of the people of Australia.

Problem Definition. Poverty refers to a situation in which members of a society, community or nation are poor. According to King, to be poor implies that an individual have very little or no resources that are needed for human survival (2008). Poor people often have little material that can enable them meet the basic needs of life such as food, shelter and clothing. In addition to these basic human needs, people may not be able to have adequate access to certain essential amenities such as good healthcare, quality education as well as improved security.

Poverty reduction refers to various measures that can be taken by individuals, organizations and governments in order to help people come out of poverty. Poverty reduction measures are usually designed to help people improve their living standards. Harding, Lloyd and Greenwell postulate that poverty levels vary from one country to another. They further assert that poverty is more prevalent in less developed and developing countries than in developed countries (2004). Poverty is more prevalent in less developed countries because of low levels of industrialization, poor economic growth and development, high growth rates of populations among other factors.

Key Elements of the Policy Response. First and foremost, I would recommend that the government of Australia should provide financial aids to poor people, for example, more youths and women should be encourage to become entrepreneurs and self-employed. Similarly, the government should provide incentives such as tax exemptions or reduced tax rates in order to attract more foreign investors. In my opinion, this would help in creation of more employment opportunities and hence improved living standards since most people will have reliable sources of income. Attracting more foreign investors will also help in stimulating economic growth and development and consequently lead to increase in gross domestic product (GDP). Singh, Titi and Strickland suggest that foreign investors can be attracted into the economy through various means which includes availability of commercial institutions that can provide capital to investors, less bureaucratic procedures, low taxations, transparency in government procedures and dealings as well as formulation and implementation of supportive policies (2008).

Secondly, the government should also provide basic amenities such as schools, healthcare services as well as improved infrastructure. Good infrastructure, for example, a good network of transport lines like roads and railway lines, would incredibly improved trade. Increase in trade activities would result into exchange of high quality goods and services between the local citizens and foreign traders. In my view, consumption of high quality products will definitely result into improved standards of living hence reduced levels of poverty. Additionally, the government of Australia should also increase its expenditures on developmental projects such as construction of roads, schools and healthcare facilities (Oyen & Cimadamore 2010).

Thirdly, the government should provide adequate funding to aid agricultural activities, for instance, through provision of subsidies on fertilizers. Dowsett (2008) puts forward that poverty often results from food shortages. Therefore, I would argue that if food production is increased through increased agricultural activities, the level of poverty in Australia would be greatly reduced. Additionally, food production may be increased through adoption of appropriate agricultural technologies that have the capability to increased crop production, for example, through use of irrigation methods of farming or genetically modified organic (GMO) crops. However, caution should be taken when using genetically modified organic (GMO) products because they may have adverse negative effects on the health of the people.

Fourthly, the government of Australia should ensure that the property rights of poor people in the society are well protected. According to the International Institute for Sustainable Development (2007), countries should recognize the property rights of the poor, especially rights relating to economic properties such as land. The Institute urges that increasing the property rights of individuals would help in increasing their wealth by more than forty percent.

The government should also empower more women and youths to become entrepreneurs. This can be achievement through provision of financial assistance, technical guidance and training to enable women and youth acquire more entrepreneurial skills. In my opinion, this would help in reducing gender inequality between men and women which has been the stumbling block to poverty reduction in the country. Additionally, the government can also reduce social inequality amongst citizens through equal distribution of resources, equal access to education, employment opportunities and healthcare services. Equitable distribution of resources would improve availability of economic resources to the people hence empowering them to make efficient use and maximize utilization of such resources. Chomitz notes that inequitable distribution of resources often results into conflicts and wars between communities, thereby stagnating economic growth and development (2007). Consequently, levels of poverty would increase.

According to Aliber (2010), through empowerment of women, the government will be able to fully utilize their capabilities hence increased contribution to the overall economic growth and development. Women can be empowered through increased participation in political activities, involving women in decision-making processes of the government as well as providing them with financial resources to enable them start businesses.

Furthermore, the government of Australia should formulate and implement national employment strategies that aim at providing equal employment opportunities to all people regardless of their gender, cultural or socio-economic status (International Institute for Sustainable Development, 2007). This entails easy access to all relevant information relating to employment opportunities within the government offices, giving priority to disadvantaged groups such as persons with disabilities, youth, women and minority groups and provision of training and development opportunities to women and youth to increase their competence in the job market. Similarly, the government should increase the minimum wage rate so that those who are employment may earn reasonable incomes that would increase their purchasing power, hence improving their living standards.

According to Henderson, the government may alleviate poverty by increasing its national expenditure on various basic amenities such as education and healthcare (2009). Increased government expenditure would inject more money into the economy thus stimulating economic growth and development. This involves adoption of various fiscal policies to stimulate trading activities in the economy. However, I would warn that great caution should be taken whenever the government deploys expansionary fiscal policies as a stimulant for economic activities because it may result into increased inflation rates and high prices of consumer goods and services hence decrease in living standards of the people.

Moreover, the government of Australia should increase its investments in major sectors of the economy such as agriculture, trade, tourism and transport (United Nations Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development 2005). In my opinion, this would stimulate growth and development in different sectors of the economy thus eliminating the need to over-depend in one or two sectors of the economy.

Conclusion

I would conclude that poverty is a major societal evil and thus must be reduced at all costs. The government should adopt comprehensive strategies and measures that would help in alleviating poverty. In my opinion, the government of Australia should not over-rely on foreign aids as a way of eradicating poverty within the country.  Instead, it should ensure that all factors of productions, especially land, labor and capital, are effectively and efficiently utilized so as to maximize national productivity. When productivity increases, the gross domestic product (GDP) would also grow, hence reduced poverty levels. In order to create a business friendly market that would attract more foreign investors, the government should adopt and implement supportive policies such as removal of trade barriers between Australia and other countries.

Moreover, the government should ensure that national resources are equality distributes amongst all regions so as to avoid imbalance in regional growth and development. Resources should be allocated equitably so as to benefit all citizens. Social services and amenities such as healthcare facilities, educational facilities and recreational centers should be made available and accessible to all people. More funds of the government should be channeled towards provision of high quality services, consequently improving the living standards of the people.

Various national campaigns and public lectures on how to reduce poverty should be provided to all citizens. Such campaigns should aim at creating awareness on the various measures that the government has taken to reduce poverty amongst the people as well the methods which the citizens may deploy to alleviate poverty, for example, practicing mixed farming or other modern agricultural techniques.

Last but not least, the government should exercise and practice good governance policies. It should fight corruption within its trade dealings with private trader, for example, in allocation of tenders during procurement. It should also ensure that there is high level of security in the country. The government must ensure that the lives of the citizens are secured as well as the safety of their economic properties like business premises. The government should also ensure that there is minimal interference of politics on formulation and implementation of poverty reduction policies. Poverty reduction measures and politics should be treated as two different issues. The government should also guarantee stable political state in the country.

Code: Sample20

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