Anti-Poverty Weeks 2023 are here!
16 October 2023
This year, Anti-Poverty Weeks (APW) will be held across two weeks from the 15-27 October around Australia. For the first time in 21 years, APW will be held over a fortnight in recognition of the historic Voice to Parliament Referendum. APW is a time for us all to learn more about the causes and realities of poverty and take collective action to end it.
The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) and VolunteeringACT are co-chairing this year’s APW in the ACT. This year there will be a national focus on ending child poverty and the campaign will focus on drawing attention to key priority areas including income support, cost of living, volunteering, and community sector work in the Territory.
ACTCOSS has today released two factsheets:
- Poverty & Disadvantage in the ACT
- The Disability Poverty Cycle in the ACT (co-produced with Advocacy for Inclusion)
Lack of awareness of poverty, including the scale of child poverty, and the ACT housing crisis are major contributors to lack of action and change. During Anti-Poverty Weeks we will be calling on the Canberra community to act on the poverty on our own doorstep.
Activities for ACT Anti-Poverty Weeks 2023 include:
Friday 20th Oct 9am
ACTCOSS is hosting a media conference to officially launch ACT Anti-Poverty Weeks 2023. The media conference will feature community sector leaders from across Canberra, gathering to discuss the causes and consequences of poverty in the ACT. The event will take place in front of the ACT Legislative Assembly and be accompanied by the launch of our Poverty and Inequality Factsheet which provides sobering insights into poverty in the ACT.
Friday 20th Oct 10am-2pm
The Canberra City Salvos are hosting a community hub and free barbecue on Friday 20th October in acknowledgement of Anti-Poverty Week 2023. The event will be held at the corner of Fawkner St and Elouera St in Braddon, and will be an opportunity to meet a bunch of local services and hear about the great work they do supporting our community.
Friday 20th Oct Evening
Telstra Tower will be lit up in blue on the evening of Thursday 21st October. Telstra Tower will be lit in blue alongside other monuments across Australia during the week to raise awareness and communicate a brighter future of hope, particularly for children in poverty.
Wednesday 25th Oct 12pm-2pm
ACTCOSS and VolunteeringACT (Co-Chairs of ACT APW) are hosting a free community lunch at the Food Co-op Shop & Cafe. There will also be representatives from the community and volunteering sector, and opportunities to chat about poverty and inequality, and ways to take action in the ACT! All welcome.
Everyone can play a role in poverty alleviation in our community including by:
- Getting informed and reading our factsheets
- Attending and participating in APW events
- Petitioning politicians to take action and emailing your MP about poverty
- Joining the campaign to Raise the Rate of income support
- Joining the Everybody’s Home campaign to increase social housing
- Donating to a local community organisation
- Finding volunteering opportunities in the ACT
For a full list of events and more information and resources on APW you can go to the ACT’s Anti-Poverty Week page which lists all the events. For information on events in other jurisdictions and the national campaign visit the national Anti-Poverty Week website.
Jean Giese, CEO VolunteeringACT said: “The cost-of-living crisis will only continue to increase the number of people, particularly children, living in poverty. There are currently 1 in 6 children living in poverty in Australia.
“Poverty has wide and negative impacts on each aspect of life, affecting people’s ability to have secure and high-quality food, to adequately care for themselves and their children, to have stable housing and to secure educational and professional opportunities that will improve their future.”
Craig Wallace, Head of Policy at Advocacy for Inclusion said: “Canberrans with a disability face a triple jeopardy from our city’s high cost of living, low incomes due to unemployment and under employment, plus additional costs of disability which flow from needing to access more expensive and value-added goods and services.
“Virtually everything is more expensive with a disability – food, taxis, housing and energy. In the ACT a combination of factors make things worse. We face high utility costs despite having high energy needs in a region with extremes of heat and cold.1 The ACT also features the highest out-of-pocket health care costs given low – and decreasing – numbers of bulk billing practices across the region.2 Finally, we have a desperate lack of affordable and accessible housing.3
“The result is people with already limited social networks, and then no cash reserves to call on in emergencies, are crushed and isolated within cycles of poverty. That’s why we call for a modest Disability and Illness supplement of $50 a week and reform of pension access arrangements so people can get income support, especially in crisis”, Craig Wallace concluded.
Dr Devin Bowles, CEO ACTCOSS commented: “Despite high average weekly earnings in the ACT, there are many Canberrans living in poverty and struggling to make ends meet. For people in poverty, the rapidly accelerating cost of living and housing crises are creating insurmountable pressures.
“We have heard countless stories of households in our community having to choose which essentials they can manage to cover each week. This is an indictment of our current social security system, which is operating in a way that traps people below the poverty line.
“Both the ACT and federal governments have major roles to play in poverty alleviation. Investment is urgently needed to redress prohibitive cost of living pressures, housing unaffordability, underfunding of community sector services, and shamefully low rates of income support,” Dr Bowles concluded.
ACTCOSS advocates for social justice in the ACT and represents not-for-profit community organisations. Follow us @ACTCOSS on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
For more information or comment, please contact
Dr Devin Bowles, CEO, ACTCOSS, on 0413 435 080.