During Anti Poverty Week next week (11 to 17 October), we will be reminded that poverty and severe hardship affects an estimated 2.5 million Australians and more than 600,000 Australian children who are currently living below the internationally-accepted poverty line.
A 2014 report by the Australian Council of Social Service found that poverty in Australia has increased by a percentage point over 2003 to 2012 and the most at-risk groups in our communities include women, people with a disability, children and older people.
As the level of government closest to the community, councils are in a unique position during Anti Poverty Week to help strengthen the community's understanding of the causes and consequences of poverty and hardship, and encourage discussion and action to address these problems, including action by individuals, communities and local businesses. Working with the Commonwealth, states and our communities, Local Government can help to address and fight poverty in Australia.
It's not too late for councils across the country to organise or take part in an activity that aims to highlight or overcome issues of poverty and hardship for Anti Poverty Week. Resources can be accessed online to help organise an event and to promote Anti Poverty Week. There are also a range of ideas on how Local Government can become involved and examples of activities that other councils have organised in the past.
I encourage councils to help fight poverty and hardship in Australia by supporting Anti Poverty Week this coming week.
Mayor Troy Pickard