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Rebecca White MP | Labor Member for Lyons

This year Anti-Poverty Week (12-18th October) gives us all a good opportunity to pause and reflect on those around the world and in Tasmania living on or below the poverty line. For us to tackle poverty we need to better understand the causes and consequences of hardship.

Close to home it’s concerning to note the growing levels of inequity amongst Australian households. The wealthiest 20% of Australian households holds 61% of Australia’s net household wealth and the poorest 20% accounts for only 1%! In Tasmania that means that 1 in 5 Tasmanians are living on or below the poverty line.

Earlier this year the Parliamentary Labor Party submitted a response to the federal government McClure report looking into welfare reform. As part of this response we highlighted that it’s the responsibility of everyone to ensure that individuals and families are supported and that they are not consigned to unhelpful stereotypes and stigma. Our response also highlighted the need for a whole of government response to support vulnerable citizens.

Key to alleviating poverty is providing pathways to employment. There are many suitable qualified and motivated Tasmanians wanting to work but unable to because there are too few jobs available to them. Currently the cost of travel and the irregularity of public transport is a barrier for many searching for work.

Labor absolutely does not support any change to the welfare system that will see people worse off or unable to afford a basic acceptable standard of living. Australia is a lucky country and we’re a country that can afford a support network for all Australians. You can read the complete submission to the welfare review here. 

As part of Anti-Poverty Week a number of events are being held around southern Tasmania. These include a ‘What’s for Tea’ session with tips on cooking quick economic meals, a panel discussion on current poverty issues and a vegetable share market were attendees will have the opportunity to swap or share garden produce. For all the details check out the Anti-Poverty Week website.

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Rebecca White

Authorised by Lindsay White, 276 Masons Road, Nugent, 7172