How many people in Australia are illiterate?
A study from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2007) has rated the literacy and numeracy skills of 9,000 Australian’s on a five-point scale.

The result:

46% of Australians DON’T have the literacy and numeracy skills to participate effectively in present-day Australia, testing on Levels 1-3.

17% of them score on band 1, which makes them illiterate or very poor readers.

When testing their “life-skills,” Level 3 is considered the minimum needed to effectively cope in today’s life in Australia. The participants had to read financial documents (like workplace agreements), health instructions, newspaper articles and similar everyday numeracy tests: calculating change, understanding percentages of a sales item or the interest they are paying on the mortgage.

In no way is the result skewed by non-English speaking migrants; in fact, they are generally placing a higher value on learning and putting more effort and money into their offspring’s education. If you think, this statistic rates us poorly, you are wrong. Australia rated pretty well, being placed fifth in an overall worldwide PISA ranking.
I have read a more recent study that suggests that we have sunken far further on the international PISA ratings scale.

Is there a link between literacy and income?

As mentioned before, dyslexics are found outside the box, so their level of income is often well above the average, but in many cases well below.

Statistically, there is a $200 income difference per week just between a level 1 and a level 2 reader. An improvement in a child’s reading skill might be a rewarding investment.