As part of activity surrounding Anti-Poverty Week (October 11-17), SACOSS will today release its annual Anti-Poverty Statement, profiling poverty in different areas of South Australia.
The SACOSS Statement focuses on the LGAs of Charles Sturt, Onkaparinga and Port Augusta.
To provide a profile of poverty in each area we have used Department of Employment and ABS Community Profile Census data, as well as poverty indicator rankings from the recently released Dropping Off The Edge (DOTE 2015) report.
Case studies of people experience poverty and access services provided by SACOSS member organisations accompany each area profiled.
SACOSS Executive Director Ross Womersley said,
“What our Statement demonstrates is that poverty is prevalent, even in communities we might not consider as being poor”
Mr Womersley continued,
“The case studies show how people are struggling to overcome poverty and how support services like financial counselling can make a real difference in people’s lives”
“But what we can see is that issues of poverty can be localised, and this needs a community level response. That is why local government, as well as state and federal governments have a key role in providing for the needs of local communities”
Anti-Poverty Week is an opportunity to talk about solutions, fairness, and a decent standard of living for all South Australians.
SACOSS believes every person should have somewhere safe to live, reasonable food and clothing, access to basic utilities, employment, justice, education, and health services.
Mr Womersley said,
“Our response to poverty needs to be multidimensional. Firstly, we know that employment and the subsequent income, status and standing it provides, enables people to get out of poverty, however, South Australia currently has the highest unemployment rate in the country.
“We also have a growing issue of underemployment – people might have some work but not enough to give them a living wage. This leaves them very vulnerable to experiencing poverty.
”Secondly, people who rely on income support must have a reasonable level of income to live on. Therefore, we need a well-resourced service system that provides people with support and opportunities to live a better life".
SACOSS believes South Australia's health and education systems need to be of the highest standards and accessible to everyone, and that governments at all levels must have access to the funds they need to deliver vital services to the community, particularly where there is significant disadvantage.
Mr Womersley continued,
“We particularly want to see more collaboration between our state and federal governments to ensure real investment in a joined-up job creation plan for South Australia, which must include the community sector as a key partner.
"With such a significant unemployment issue in South Australia, our national income support system must work well".
SACOSS joins with the national Council of Social Service network in repeating the call to urgently lift the rate of Newstart by a minimum of $50 per week.
SACOSS is launching its Anti-Poverty Week Statement today (Wednesday 14 October), 10.30am at UnitingCare Wesley Bowden, 77 Gibson St, Bowden