TALKING to a room full of caring people about fighting poverty was like singing to the choir, according to UnitingCare West chief executive Amada Hunt.
She said, however, she hoped the message to help those in need would spread.
Ms Hunt discussed the struggles of living on Newstart and Youth Allowance payments at Perth’s Uniting Church on October 17 for an ecumenical social justice roundtable event as part of Anti-Poverty Week.
She said the aim was to strengthen public understanding of the causes and consequences of poverty, using several case studies as examples.
“The fact you are at an event like this means you are good people who care about those experiencing hardship; I am singing to choir to an extent, but we need more people like you to help with the solution,” she said.
“There does need to be significant reform in the tax system to ensure we have a fair society.
“This may be a way to ensure people aren’t disadvantaged further by poverty, and financially prosperous people aren’t privileged by their wealth.”
She said 53 per cent of Australians live below the poverty line and rely on government payments, which can equate to $38 per day for those on Newstart payments.
Meanwhile, Leederville-based social housing provider Foundation Housing this week features an exhibition called When I’m Grown Up of pictures drawn by its youngest tenants.
Children were asked to draw what they wanted to be when they grew up to demonstrate that each child has dreams of a bright future.
Foundation Housing chief executive Kathleen Gregory said the drawings were “touching”.
“Some related to working in an occupation, helping others, living in different circumstances and some were quite humble,” she said.
“We hope that these personal expressions of future dreams gives identity to a group of children in our community who are living on or close to the poverty line and we hope it stimulates discussion around what is needed in that child’s life to be able to achieve that dream.”
Anti-Poverty Week runs until October 22.
Go to www.antipovertyweek.org.au.