Charities nationwide are reporting record appeals for help this Christmas with more and more Australian households facing a slide into poverty.
St Vincent de Paul Society social policy national director John Falzon said the need for charity would continue to balloon as the federal government pushes ahead with its workplace and welfare reforms.
"We at Vinnies have experienced an increased demand not only for presents and food for the Christmas season but even with the day-to-day expenses such as prescriptions, doctors' visits, school excursions and electricity bills," Dr Falzon said.
"At a time when the government's welfare and IR reforms promise to reduce income support and to strip wage protection at the lower end of the labour market, we are deeply concerned that those who are already battling and are being completely abandoned.
"We are concerned about the growth of the working poor - it's very much an American phenomenon and we in Australia are enthusiastically embracing this trend."
The Salvation Army said it had experienced a 14 per cent surge for appeals for help this Christmas compared with last year and was seeing more people distressed and fearful of the future.
© 2005 AAP