Media release: Anti-Poverty Week kicks off in Canberra – Show solidarity and learn something new

11 October 2019

Next week, 13-19 October is Anti-Poverty Week and the ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) and the Australian Red Cross – ACT/SE NSW have been working with organisations across the community sector to intensify our advocacy against poverty.

A vibrant calendar of events has been created to build public awareness and encourage people to take action to eliminate poverty. The theme that unites our messages in 2019 is “Together Preventing Tipping Points into Poverty“.

Red Cross ACT Regional Manager Mark Duggan said, “Canberra has ‘hidden poverty’, with the second highest rate of homelessness in the nation. About 26,000 Canberrans suffer food stress, spending more than 30% of their income on food. And 25,000 Canberrans live below the poverty line. Our key message is poverty exists and we can do something about it.”

Susan Helyar, CEO of ACTCOSS, said, “We advocate for the elimination of poverty every week of the year. Anti-Poverty Week gives us a chance to amplify our messages in collaboration with community organisations and people in business, government and political life who support real change in policy and programs so that people in difficult circumstances get access to enough resources, the right support and genuine opportunities to overcome challenges and achieve their goals. Those most at risk of poverty in Canberra include Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples, people in newly arrived communities, people with disabilities, people over the age of 80, carers, and single-income households – especially those with children.”

The core advocacy action for the national Anti-Poverty Week campaign is to encourage all Canberrans to contact their MPs and senators to say they support raising the rate of Newstart, Youth Allowance, Sickness Allowance and other similar payments. Everyone can learn more and sign up to the Raise the Rate Campaign website: The national Anti-Poverty Week office has also developed a resource page to support advocacy on eliminating poverty.

St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn is hosting an Anti-Poverty Week launch event on Monday 14 October to provide business sector leaders an opportunity to hear about the need to raise the rate of Newstart and other similar payments. This includes a media event from 8.30am at QUT Business School, Suite 33, 1st floor, 2 King St, Deakin, ACT.

“The inadequacy of Newstart is pushing many recipients into poverty and contributing to financial stress, housing insecurity, and diminished health and wellbeing,” said Vinnies Canberra/Goulburn CEO Barnie van Wyk.

This year GIVIT have produced a podcast series titled Unlikely. Caroline Odgers from GIVIT said, “We produced this series with our community partners to raise awareness of real stories from inspiring Canberrans, their tipping points into poverty and their pathway to a better life.” Listen to the series here.

This series builds on the video series produced for Anti-Poverty Week in 2018 that profiled four people in Canberra, and three organisations, who had experiences of creating pathways out of poverty. Watch the videos here.

Community radio station 2XX has several programs during this week that will include interviews with community leaders who will talk about what works to prevent, intervene and recover from poverty. This includes an interview with Julian Corner who is visiting from The LankellyChase Foundation in the UK, who will provide the ACT Anti-Poverty Week keynote address titled Evidence for (and against) systems change: addressing severe and multiple disadvantage. This event is hosted by ACTCOSS in partnership with the University of New South Wales. Find out about the keynote address here.

We encourage everyone in Canberra who wants to see poverty eliminated to get together with others who share this goal, and to learn something new about the causes and experience of poverty in Canberra. We also encourage Canberrans to check out the links above, keep an eye out in local media for reports of other activities during Anti-Poverty Week and get along to the public events outlined below.

The planning group for Anti-Poverty Week in the ACT is a whole of community sector collaboration that this year was led by the Australian Red Cross – ACT/SE NSW and the ACT Council of Social Service.

The following organisations contributed to planning Anti-Poverty Week activities in 2019: ACT Multicultural Advisory Council, Anglicare NSW South, NSW West and ACT, ANU Student’s Association, Australian Association of Social Workers, Australian Union of Unemployed Workers, Belconnen Community Service, Capital Health Network, Carers ACT, Cancer Council ACT, CIT Students’ Association, Directions Health Services, GIVIT, Institute for Child Protection Studies, Legal Aid ACT, Marymead, Migrant and Refugee Settlement Service, OzHarvest, St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn, Sunnyfield Disability Services, The Hope Project, The Salvation Army – ACT & South NSW Division, Toora Women, Woden Community Service, Women’s Centre for Health Matters, YWCA Canberra.

Please see below for more information on the media event and some of the public events for Anti-Poverty Week in Canberra.

For more information or comment please contact

Susan Helyar, CEO of ACTCOSS on 0448 791 987 or 02 6202 7200.

Anti-Poverty Week – what’s happening in Canberra

[Media event] Raise the Rate Breakfast Launch – 14 October

Vinnies Canberra/Goulburn will be joined by Senator Jacqui Lambie, David Smith MP, Shane Rattenbury MLA and Joy Burch MLA to launch Anti-Poverty Week in Canberra with a breakfast and panel discussion in support of the ‘Raise the Rate’ campaign.

When: Media event from 8.30am, Monday 14 October 2019

Where: QUT Business School, Suite 33, 1st floor, 2 King St, Deakin

Contact: Hilde Schneider, [email protected], 0437 053 941

Homelessness: We All Own It. Art Exhibition – 10-17 Oct

Local artist, Caroline Ambrus and supporting partner organisations – the Canberra City Uniting Church Early Morning Centre and Communities@Work invite you to their art exhibition.

When: 10-17 October 2019

Where: Pilgrim House, 69 Northbourne Ave (on the corner of Rudd St), Canberra

Evidence for (& against) systems change to address disadvantage – 14 Oct

In this keynote address, Julian Corner will discuss the use and abuse of evidence in social policy. Julian will draw on the work of Lankelly Chase and its approach to change, including the use of action inquiries to explore what it might take to change systems that perpetuate severe and multiple disadvantage.

When:Monday 14 October 2019, 2.30pm to 4pm

Where:Ann Harding Conference Centre, Building 24, University of Canberra, University Drive South, Bruce

Cost: FREE!

Register or more info:via Eventbrite

The Big Issue: A Pathway From Poverty exhibition – 15 Oct

Learn about the Big Issue and how it has changed vendors’ lives through supplementary income, skill development and social inclusion. Hear their stories and get to know your local provider.

When: Tuesday 15 October 2019, 10am to 3pm

Where: Woden Town Square

Contact: Anita Gardner, Woden Community Service, 0476 804 565

Community Services #1 Anti-Poverty Week Lunch – 15 Oct

Lunch will be provided at 66 cents per person to engage with the lived realities of many Aussies living in poverty.

When: Tuesday 15 October 2019, 12.30pm to 2pm

Where: Community Services #1 Hall, 63 Boolimba Crescent, Narrabundah

Canberra Homeless Connect: Humanity, Assistance and Comfort – 17 Oct

The Canberra Homeless Connect event offers a one-stop-shop that brings much needed services and care to everyone from rough sleepers to couch surfers. Guests will receive free haircuts, shoes, dental and medical checks, sessions with housing agencies and more.

When: Thursday 17 October 2019, 11am to 3pm

Where: Early Morning Centre, Canberra City Uniting Church, 69 Northbourne Ave, Canberra

Want to get involved? Contact 02 6247 5041 or [email protected]

YWCA Lanyon Pantry Dash – 17 Oct

YWCA Canberra’s Lanyon Food Hub have invited MLAs to help out in the kitchen and to meet and mingle with Lanyon Food Hub members. A recipe book which includes the recipes that members have shared over the past 12 months will be available for people to take home.

When: Thursday 17 October 2019, 9am to 10.30am

Where: Mura Lanyon Youth and Community Centre, Sidney Nolan Street, Conder

Contact: 02 6294 4633 or [email protected]

Student Poverty event – 17 Oct

ANUSA and Unions ACT will highlight wage theft and food insecurity for students, and direct tertiary students to services, support and the Raise the Rate campaign.

When: Thursday 17 October 2019, 12pm to 4pm

Where: University Avenue, Australian National University, Acton

Contact: Tanika Sibal, Education Officer, ANU Student’s Association, 0402307287

Bike Library Launch – 18 Oct

The bike library aims to provide residents from a disadvantaged background in west Gungahlinaccess to free bike hire. GIVIT – Goods for Good Causes is collaborating with Northside Community Service (bike library management), Margaret Hendry School (management and library location) and Calwell High School (provide refurbished bikes).

When: Friday 18 October, 3pm to 4.30pm

Where: Margaret Hendry School, 100 Sutherland Crescent, Taylor

Contact: Caroline Odgers, [email protected], 0404 687 663

See more at the Anti-Poverty Week website, Facebook page and Twitter.

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