How long has Anti-Poverty Week been operating?
Anti-Poverty Week was established in 2002 by the Social Justice Project at the UNSW. It was inspired by the United Nations International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (October 17) but expanded to include a full week in Australia to allow more participation. 2022 will be our 20th anniversary. See Our History for more.
When is Anti-Poverty Week this year?
Anti-Poverty Week will be held between 16-22 October in 2022.
Why is Anti-Poverty Week focusing on child poverty in 2022?
Anti-Poverty Week National Facilitating Group and Co-Chairs from the states and territories agreed that we should focus on child poverty in our 20th year of acting on poverty. Poverty rates in Australia, the so-called ‘lucky’ country, remain far too high at 1 in 8 and children continue to experience higher poverty rates than adults. More than 1 in 6 Australian children (three quarters of a million) live in poverty.
Kids growing up in poverty too often go to bed or school hungry; they can feel left out if they can’t afford to join a local sport team or go on school camps; they may be living in an overcrowded home where there’s no quiet place to do homework and they worry about their parents. Growing up in poverty diminishes children’s lives now and in the future. Children living in poverty have worse physical, meant and educational outcomes plus have more than 3 times the risk of living in poverty as an adult. See also our Call to Action and our Child and Family Poverty in Australia Fast Facts.
Are there International commitments around reducing poverty?
Australia, along with 192 other Member States, agreed to the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in September 2015. The goals apply equally to Australia and Australians as they do internationally. The number 1 Goal is ‘No Poverty’. There is also a sub-target (1.2) of reducing poverty by 50% by 2030.
Our goal is to #EndChildPoverty, a legislated plan to halve child poverty by 2030 would be a huge step to achieving this.
Does poverty exist in Australia?
A new report, released on the eve of Anti-Poverty Week, Poverty in Australia 2022 by ACOSS/UNSW Poverty and Inequality Partnership finds more than 1 in 8 Australians or 3.319 million live in poverty (2019-2020 latest available data). It also found 1 in 6 children in Australia (16.6% or 761,000) are growing up in poverty which continues to be higher than the rate for adults (12.7%).
Research by the Productivity Commission published in 2018 as Rising Inequality? stated that despite 27 years of uninterrupted economic growth, the proportion of Australians living on very low incomes (9-10%) has not changed. Their report shows that “forms of poverty for children in particular have actually risen over the last twenty years.”
What can we do to reduce poverty for children and others affected?
To end child poverty we are calling for measures that will help many people out of poverty, not just children. Actions which should be taken now include
- Increase JobSeeker and related payments so everyone can afford the basics including rent, food, medication and education.
- Build more social housing and increase Commonwealth Rent Assistance so everyone has a safe place to call home.
Children and families would also benefit from these actions:
- Review family payments and child support to ensure they do their job of reducing child poverty and restore single parenting payment eligibility until the youngest child turns 16 not 8.
- Ensure income support and housing feature in the forthcoming final National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022–32.
Poverty in Australia 2022 by ACOSS/UNSW Poverty and Inequality Partnership finds the boost in income support payments provided in the early months of the pandemic delivered large reductions in poverty for adults and children (child poverty rates were reduced to the lowest level in 20 years), but the gains were short-lived.
How are JobSeekers faring?
JobSeeker payment in 2022 is worth only about 66 per cent of the Age Pension and no one thinks that’s too high. They may also receive Rent Assistance but it is only a fraction of what they pay. Single people relying on JobSeeker were paying $221 per week rent in June 2022 and only receiving ~$70 per week in Commonwealth Rent Assistance (median figures) – that is a $152 a week gap.
Why does the existence of poverty hurt us all?
As human beings, our wellbeing is linked to each other. Growing inequality is detrimental to economic growth and undermines social cohesion, increasing political and social tensions and, in some circumstances, driving instability and conflicts (Why it matters, UN Social Development Goal 1: End Poverty)
Inequality threatens long-term social and economic development, harms poverty reduction and destroys people’s sense of fulfillment and self-worth. This may breed crime, disease and environmental degradation (Why it matters, UN Social Development Goal 10: Reduce Inequality)
Is Anti-Poverty Week affiliated to any political parties?
No, Anti-Poverty Week is independent of all political parties and we encourage Members of Parliament from across the political spectrum to join in. Many politicians have launched reports or attended Anti-Poverty Week activity over the years since we commenced in 2002.
Does Anti-Poverty Week just operate in major cities?
No, we operate across Australia – historically at least one third of our activities take place in regional and rural areas. You can find out more about us here.
“The evidence is clear that by investing in helping kids get off to a good start, the costs to the community in areas such as healthcare, homelessness and unemployment can be massively reduced.” ARACY Board Chair Elaine Henry OAM.