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Our History

Our beginnings

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.


See our Highlights of APW 2019 for what we achieved under our Strategic Direction 2019-2021.


For the 10th consecutive year, Anti-Poverty Week had over 400 activities organised all over Australia. Over 600 organisations convened, sponsored and participated in an activity during the week.

Our 2018 highlights: