Anti-Poverty Week – do we have the will to achieve this?

There is so much happening this week but at the forefront of my mind is the very difficult and frightening time experienced by those in flood-affected areas in NSW, Victoria and Tasmania. My thoughts are with all those impacted, including FRSA members and friends.

As we have reported in previous editions of this eBulletin, FRSA has been funded by the Department of Social Services, with support from AIFS, to undertake a Community of Practice pilot with a number of programs under the Department’s Families and Children Activity.

This week we held five online community of practice (CoP) sessions, and we are always struck by the richness of discussion as well as the passion and commitment that CoP participants hold for their clients and communities. One participant delivering Children and Parenting Support Services (CaPS) in a flood affected area described how they were connecting with all the families from their outreach playgroups to ensure they were safe and had all relevant information for flood preparation and emergency support. It is this care and connection, as well as practical support, which helps hold our communities together during crisis events.

This week is Anti-Poverty week – a time to reflect on the many Australian children, adults and families living in poverty and to come together to find ways to end poverty. As many people have reflected over many years, Australia is a wealthy country and we do have the means to ensure that all can live above the poverty line. The big question is, of course, do we have the will to achieve this? With the rising cost of living and secure affordable housing in short supply, FRSA hopes the Australian Government will provide some short-term relief in next Tuesday’s Federal Budget. But in the longer term it will take the will of the people as well as political will to find enduring solutions to poverty. On the release of the Poverty in Australia 2022 report, ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie stated: ‘ACOSS agrees with the Treasurer that we need to have a conversation about how we can grow the revenue Australia needs to pay for the essential services and safety net we need, to end poverty and deliver wellbeing and we are keen to work with the government on this.’ I similarly agree.

It is also National Carers Week, acknowledging the 2.65 million Australians who provide unpaid care and support to family and friends who are struggling with alcohol and drug issues, have chronic or terminal illnesses, or live with a disability or a mental illness. So many of us juggle these caring roles with paid work and study, for others the carer role is a full-time commitment.

We are excited to be holding our Strategic Leadership Forum, face-to-face, in Canberra on 23-24 November. It will be great for the network to come together and gain the attention of the Federal MPs and Senators before the year comes to an end.   This is a member-only event, and we encourage senior leaders across our Membership to register and attend. We’ll be sending out registration details to FRSA Members today.

Read the full eBulletin