Summary of Anti-Poverty Week 2019
This year we created and commenced work on our 2019-21 Strategy. We refreshed our Purpose statement 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. During Anti-Poverty Week 2019 our network was encouraged 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.
Outcome 1: Australian organisations concerned to end poverty have best-practice resources on poverty (and how to frame & talk about it) and are using them.
We introduced a new key message: Poverty exists. Poverty hurts us all. We can all do something about it. It is one of hope, not despair. All our materials reflected the guide we developed How We talk About Poverty.
We created a new logo, updated our website with new links to key poverty research and produced a Fast Fact series on different aspects poverty as well as new videos and posters. We created a national database of 1,400 who receive our regular eNews. Reaction to the new logo and resources was positive: “I liked all the content that we could use – we didn’t have to make anything. Videos were good.” “Good website for young people to visit.”
Outcome 2: The Australian community has an increased understanding of the causes and consequences of poverty and 3 effective solutions to end it. (In 2019 the nominated solution was to Raise the Rate of Newstart.)
We were honoured that the Governor General presented the awards to students at Government House Canberra for the 5th Pens against Poverty writing competition for ACT and Southern NSW students in grades 3-10. Around 30,000 Australians had the chance to buy a special poverty edition of The Big Issue from one of their vendors. Thousands more would have heard about the need to increase Newstart by reading one of six Opinion pieces published online and in metropolitan dailies as well as 2 Editorials. Many would have been shocked about the extent of hunger insecurity and the lack of entry-level job vacancies from two national reports launched in APW 2019 – the Foodbank 2019 Hunger Report and Anglicare Australia’s 2019 Jobs Availability Snapshot.
We counted ~310 separate media items during APW, published in ~180 online articles and heard over ~ 460 TV or radio outlets. Much of our media coverage focused on the need to increase Newstart as the most effective solution to poverty in Australia. Our social media engagement rate far outstrips most non-profit averages. Our email communication to Federal MPs (including our 2019 Briefing) had a >80% open rate.
Outcome 3: Collective action to end poverty has been taken in the weeks around 17 October each year, particularly around the nominated solution and targeted at key decision-makers and the audiences that influence them.
At least 120 events were held across the nation in urban and regional communities. These ranged from MPs and Senators taking part in debates on poverty in the Federal Parliament to 200 people in two suburbs of Darwin getting advice about how to negotiate payments on their energy bills. Many focused on the need to increase Newstart for unemployed people. Others focused on directly helping people affected by poverty.
Two Deputy State Premiers announced their support for an increase to Newstart at Anti-Poverty Week events. The Tasmanian Premier and a respected financial commentator also endorsed an increase soon after APW.
For more, see these summaries:
APW 2019 MP and Senator Briefing, 11/10/19
APW 2019: activities not related to Newstart.