Governments at all levels must commit to halving child poverty by 2030 say community organisations and not-for-profit groups at the launch of Anti-Poverty Week in Queensland today. The call comes at a community BBQ with people experiencing poverty and disadvantage in inner city West End in Brisbane.
“Too many Australian parents are struggling to meet the most basic needs of their children,” says Lindsay Wegener, PeakCare Executive Director. “In a wealthy country such as Australia it’s not acceptable that thousands of children live in poverty with families not knowing how they will feed, clothe and house them.
“Today, more than 1.44 million Australians are living in poverty. More than 850,000 children have a parent living with the hopelessness and despair that poverty brings. This has to change. All Australian children are entitled to be cared for by parents who are not being deprived of the opportunity to place a secure roof over their head and enough money to keep them safe and well,” says Lindsay.
This is the 20th year of Australia committing to act on poverty through Anti-Poverty Week and tomorrow marks the 30th International Day for Eradication of Poverty. The number of children in poverty decreased in 2020 with the Federal Government’s Coronavirus Supplement but increased again when it ended.
“Far too many people rely on JobSeeker, rental assistance, parenting and student payments that haven’t kept pace with basic living expenses,” says Karyn Walsh, CEO of Micah Projects. “Australia needs to recognise these low payments affect children. Family payments and child support must be reviewed to reduce child poverty and single parenting payment restored until the youngest child turns 16 not 8.
“Income support and housing must feature in the final National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children. Work needs to be done to reduce and prevent poverty through early intervention and investment in parents and families. More social housing needs to be built along with an increase in Commonwealth Rent Assistance so everyone has a safe place to call home,” says Karyn.
This year marks 25 years since Prime Minister Bob Hawke promised to end child poverty by 1990. It was reduced by 30 per cent and then further with coronavirus support but has since increased again.
“More than 1 in 6 Australian children or three quarters of a million young people live in poverty,” says Helen Fogarty, Communications Manager with NAPCAN the National Association for Prevention of Child abuse and Neglect. “Poverty rates in the so-called lucky country have barely shifted since 2002 and children continue to experience higher poverty rates than adults.
“Children thrive when they have what they need to develop well. We know that growing up in poverty is more than not having enough money. Persistent poverty seeps into a child’s education, friendships, health, recreation and family relationships and increases risk of experiencing adversity as an adult,” says Helen.
Anti-Poverty Week 2022 Launch, Sun Oct 16, 1pm
Hope on Boundary Café, 170 Boundary St, West End
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