Report finds Aussies doing it tough

A SURVEY by the Salvation Army has revealed marginalised Australians are living off just under $18 a day.

This $18 would need to cover expenses such as food, health, medical, clothing, education, entertainment and utility costs, after accommodation expenses were paid.

The survey of 2406 people who visit Salvation Army centres across Australia was released in the lead up to the annual Red Shield Appeal.

The Salvation Army has described the findings as "a bleak picture of entrenched and persistent poverty for a significant proportion of people who access Salvation Army services".

The majority of children surveyed were found to be experiencing multiple levels of deprivation, with 60% missing at least five items considered normal and necessary for a child in an economically advanced country.

This level of deprivation was even more common in adults, with 87% going without five or more essential items.

Seventy-five per cent of respondents had to cut down basic necessities due to financial hardship, with 56% saying their financial situation was worse than last year.

An estimated 2.5 million Australians are now living below the poverty line.

Major Bruce Harmer, of the Salvation Army, said issues around poverty and deprivation are often reduced to questions of a job or welfare crisis.

"The foundations of a virtuous and worthy society are social inclusiveness, adequate support for those who are disadvantaged, personal safety and the ability for all members to engage fully in society," said Major Harmer.

"Without sufficient financial investment from governments and the community to adequately fund support services, the situation for disadvantaged individuals is likely to remain unchanged or further deteriorate."

The Salvation Army's annual Red Shield Doorknock Appeal will take place this weekend, with a fundraising goal of $9.5 million.