2023 is our 21st year of acting on poverty. The lead-up to Anti-Poverty Week 2023 is a historic opportunity for Australia. See our statement Why Anti-Poverty Week Supports the Voice. We are extending to run over TWO weeks from 15 – 27 October. A range of major reports will be released as well as State, Territory and Federal events during Anti-Poverty Weeks.
Call to End Child Poverty
It’s not right that more than 1 in 6 Australian children are growing up in poverty. Growing up in poverty is simply bad for children, it diminishes their physical and mental health, reduces their readiness for school and attainment in school, and the effects can last well into adulthood.
We’ve heard shocking stories of mothers pretending they’ve eaten dinner while cooking when in fact, there was not enough food to feed the whole family; of mothers forced to forego important medications and unable to maintain or fix their car. All of which has the compounding effect of restricting their employment options. We’ve also heard of children telling their younger siblings to drink less milk and not even telling their parents about after-school activities and excursions because they know the family cannot afford them.
The Centre for Community Child Health is one of Australia’s leading research and policy centres focused on understanding and redressing childhood inequities. As they state: “increased household income benefits children directly through better food, stable housing, and healthcare (the ‘investment’ model), and indirectly through improved parent mental health and capacity (the ‘family stress’ model). If early disadvantage including poverty is redressed, half of child health and developmental problems in middle childhood can be reduced”. (submission #10 to the Senate Inquiry into the Nature and Extent of Poverty)
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.
Our 2023 Call to Action to End Child Poverty
Let’s make sure that all Australian children and families can cover the basics and have a secure roof over their heads. All children can thrive and be healthy when they have what they need to develop well. In 2023 we are calling for all our Parliamentarians to legislate to #EndChildPoverty. The Valuing Children Initiative has now endorsed this approach – see here for more and a link to the Valuing Children Initiative petition calling for a child poverty reduction act. You can see more about what other countries have done here.
The New Zealand Government introduced Child Poverty Reduction legislation in 2018 and they’ve made great progress so that fewer children live in poverty. Setting targets enshrined in legislation works and changes lives for the better.
- Submission to the Early Years Strategy Discussion Paper, May 2023.
- Independents support restoring Parenting Payment to single mums, March 2023
- Measuring Child Wellbeing Matters – Treasury Submission, March 2023.
- Submission and testimony to the Senate Inquiry into the Extent and Nature of Poverty in Australia, February 2023.
- Media Briefing Still Too Much Child Poverty in the Lucky Country, October 2022.
Media Coverage for Opinion Pieces and other articles in 2023 and 2022.
Follow us on social media @antipovertyweek and use these hashtags #EndChildPoverty #AntiPovertyWeek
Some other child poverty resources
- New Zealand’s Child Poverty Reduction strategy, actions and outcomes to date.
- Poverty and Child Wellbeing: The Unicef/ARACY report The Wellbeing of Australia’s Children
- Poverty and Child Safety: led by National Children’s Commissioner Anne Hollonds, the Keeping kids safe and well – your voices report
- Poverty and Child Health: A Child Health Communique by the Australian Medical Association, ACOSS; the Academy of Child and Adolescent Health; the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute; the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY) and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. They also sort a commitment from the major parties to fund and implement the recommendations in the National Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy.
- The MOR for Children Framework by the Children’s Policy Centre, The Australian National University, 18/10/21.
- Child development and education: In 2021, more than 1 in 5 Australian children (22%) were assessed as developmentally vulnerable when they started school, according to the Australian Early Development Census. Growing up in poverty is a strong predictor of a child being developmentally vulnerable by the time they start school.
- Power to Persuade, Poverty and its effects on school-aged children: Understanding the consequences of policy choices, Professor Sharon Bessell , 20/4/21
- APW Child and Family Poverty Fast Facts, 2022.
See also APW Resources: Poverty in Australia (Child and Family reports)
See also these websites:
- Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY)
- Brotherhood of St Laurence
- Every Child
- National Child Protection Week 2021 (3-9 September 2023)
- National Council of Single Mothers and their Children
- 100 Families WA project including their Speaking from Experience video series
- Save the Children
- SNAICC (the national voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children)
- Valuing Children’s Initiative