As an organisation that works with a number of people dealing with the effects of poverty in their day to day lives, we acknowledged Anti-Poverty week recently in a number of ways.
In Western Australia our team joined the WA Council of Social Services in their 100 families project. We were thrilled to sponsor the event and take part in the process of launching the 100 families bulletin with our WA Regional Manager Elise Jorgensen leading one of the discovery sessions.
Image: WA Regional Manager, Elise Jorgensen leading a session for the 100 Families Project
100 Families WA is a ground-breaking collaborative research project that engages with families to better understand their lived experience of hardship. In their most recent report they found that people experiencing disadvantage and poverty have low food security – meaning they are unable to access food to meet their nutritional needs.
Two thirds of households with children indicated that it was often or sometimes true that they couldn't feed their children a balanced meal because they couldn't afford to. Adults are less food secure, often going hungry in order to feed their children.
We know this all comes back to poverty, and the limited choices available to people experiencing poverty. Anti-poverty week was also a good opportunity to renew calls to Raise the Rate of the Newstart allowance. Australia’s income support system was designed to help people when they are going through tough times. But Newstart is not working. The rate has not been increased in real terms for 25 years while living costs have gone through the roof. The current rate of $40 per day is too low to give people the support they need to get by. Instead of supporting people, the current Newstart rate forces them into a cycle of debt, social isolation and humiliation that undermines their efforts and risks them slipping through the cracks into entrenched poverty.
Raising the rate will get Newstart working by allowing people to focus on building the skills they need to take the opportunities to get them through tough times. In Anti-Poverty Week 2019, Life Without Barriers is supporting the Raise the Rate campaign to increase unemployment payments as the single most effective solution to reducing poverty in Australia.
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