Anti-Poverty Week was established in 2002 by the Social Justice Project at the UNSW, led by Professor Julian Disney. 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.
The aim was to strengthen public understanding of the causes and consequences of poverty and hardship around the world and in Australia; and encourage research, discussion and action to address these problems, including action by individuals, communities, organisations and governments.
Many prominent Australians have been involved in activities or as Patrons, including Governor- Generals and State Governors. Senior political leaders from Federal and State governments have often spoken at events or launched policy statements and business leaders, Mayors as well as many community leaders have been involved in a wide range of events.
Anti-Poverty Week has captured at least 400 activities each week for the 10 years to 2018 through a network of up to 600 organisations convening or sponsoring events over 130 towns or suburbs during the week. The reach is geographically broad – consistently 30 to 40 percent of all activities occur in regional and country towns.
Major publications are launched each year by key national organisations working to eradicate poverty and at the forefront of poverty research. These include ACOSS and the UNSW Social Policy Research Centre major update on poverty research ‘Poverty in Australia’ published every two years since 2012, Anglicare Australia, Foodbank, Mission Australia and The Salvation Army, UnitingCare Australia.
These often dominate national and capital city media stories during the week. Since 2002 there have also frequently been opinion pieces, columns, TV segments, and radio stories.
During 2021 Anti-Poverty Week called on our governments to unlock poverty for millions of Australians by raising income support above the poverty line and investing in social housing. In Australia 2.65 million adults and children struggle to survive on income payments that are well below the poverty line, that’s over one in 10 Australians – including close to a million children (1 in 5) who are growing up in the poorest families. Many are at risk of homelessness due to a shortage of affordable housing. In 2021 we brought together the Raise the Rate for Good and Everybody’s Home campaigns. See our 11 October joint media release Solving the housing crisis and lifting income support will alleviate crushing poverty.
We took action with a Petition to the Treasurer which called for an increase in the base rate of working age income support payments to at least $67 a day, a 50% increase in Rent Assistance and an investment in social housing.
See also these APW briefings specific to the COVID-19 pandemic:
- APW letter to Treasurer, 28 July 2021 and APW letter to Minister Ruston, 22 July 2021 re need to extend support to individuals, families and children receiving DSS payments
- Working Age Payments by Federal Electorate , June 2021, including APW estimates of the number of Children with a parent receiving Working Age payments and numbers receiving Commonwealth Rent Assistance (sourced from DSS Demographics June 2021)
- APW Briefing on JobSeeker and Poverty, 5 May 2021 and APW Analysis of Coronavirus Supplement, 5 May 2021
- Number of children by State & Territory and End of Coronavirus Supplement social media tiles on our Promotions page, 1 April 2021
- APW Briefing on Poverty, JobSeeker and Working Age Payments, 11 March 2021
In 2020 Anti-Poverty Week was held from 11th – 17th October, however our advocacy and support from our sponsors and partnering organisations kicked off earlier in the year in response to the challenges of COVID-19.
In 2020 we partnered with both the Everybody’s Home campaign to ensure secure and affordable homes for all and the Raise the Rate for Good campaign to secure a permanent increase in unemployment payments well above the poverty line. These are the most effective solutions to reducing poverty in Australia. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, many organisations supported APW through webinars which focused on various topics including analysis of the Federal Budge, housing and homelessness, child poverty, post-pandemic directions and many more. The Governor-General and Mrs Hurley joined residents of the Oaks Estate, a social housing estate on the edge of Canberra, for a BBQ during Anti-Poverty Week 2020. The above image was taken at that event.
Links to our 14 2020 eNews published through the year.
Under the guidance of the new our APW Strategic Direction 2019-22, our Purpose statement was refreshed to:
Anti-Poverty Week supports the Australian community to have an increased understanding of poverty and to take action collectively to end it.
To increase our impact, we agreed to focus the Week around one evidence-based solution to poverty, which was to support the Raise the Rate campaign to increase unemployment payments led by ACOSS. Increasing Newstart and linked payments would help reduce poverty for at least one million Australians.
See here for our APW 2019 Summary Evaluation
APW 2019 Activities not related to Newstart