REVEALED: Warwick among most disadvantaged towns
WARWICK is one of the most disadvantaged towns in the nation, according to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday.
Derived from the 2016 census, the statistics categorise Warwick in the bottom 20th percentile of socio-economic disadvantage.
The study measures variables such as income, employment status, access to internet, level of education, rental costs, English proficiency and whether residents own a car.
Salvation Army Southern Downs officer Zak Churchill hoped the information would push action in the right direction.
"It is a prominent issue in our community," he said.
"What I would love to see is an establishment of a working party between non-government and government organisations to address these issues."
While community welfare organisations had regular contact, things could only move forward with backing from local, state and federal government, Mr Churchill said.
"There is no interface between local NGOs and those other levels of government," he said.
"I think the nature of people is to have meetings and discuss problems, but we need a working group to designate action items and make people responsible and accountable to actually do it."
Mr Churchill said breaking the cycle of inter-generational welfare dependence was a challenge for the town.
"Where Warwick probably once was not a disadvantaged community, it has crept in and it goes from generation to generation and nothing has broken it," he said.
"It's through no fault of their own that people are disadvantaged, but we need to give them pathways out of their situation instead of continuing to enable them to pass that on to the next generation."
The ABS data shows socio-economic disadvantage is at its worst in Warwick's centre, with surrounding suburbs ranking higher than the Warwick CBD.
Mt Tabor, Rosenthal Heights and the Rosehill area appeared significantly better off in terms of socio-economic advantage.
Warwick Lighthouse Community Centre supervisor Daphne Porter said the statistics were in line with what she had seen in the town. "People in this community just aren't making ends meet," she said.
The Warwick-based welfare organisation has serviced 106 people so far this year.
Mrs Porter said domestic violence was also a big contributor to social disadvantage in the town.
Stanthorpe CBD was also marked with red, scoring slightly lower than Warwick in the Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage.
As a state, Queensland was home to seven of the top 10 most disadvantaged areas in the country, with Cherbourg ranking worst in the country.
People of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin were more likely to live in the most disadvantaged areas.