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Anti-Poverty Week

Anti-Poverty Week logo on an aqua background. Text reads "16-22 October 2022. Anti-poverty week. 20 years action on poverty."

Anti-Poverty week is a period of activism in Australia based around the United Nations Day for the Eradication of Poverty. 

This is the twentieth year of Anti-Poverty Week and is from 16 – 22 October. 

One in eight Australians are living poverty, one in six children. 

Poverty exists.
Poverty hurts us all. 
We can all do something about it. 

Anti-Poverty Week Coalition

A recent report by ACOSS/UNSW Poverty and Inequality Partnership found that 

  • 761,000 children are growing up in poverty
  • The boost in income payments at the beginning of the pandemic delivered large reductions in poverty however these benefits were short-lived
  • Rates of poverty in children track 3% higher than the rates for the population as a whole

The Hunger Report 2022 from Food Bank Australia shows that any given day 500,000 households are struggling to put food on the table. 

During anti-poverty week, the Anti-Poverty Week coalition is calling on all parliamentarians to halve child poverty by 2030. For more information on what you can do, go here.

A calendar of events is on the anti-poverty website for those wanting to participate. 

The Refugee Council of Australia is also calling on the government to direct the Department of Home Affairs to “remove the guidelines and policies that restrict access to Status Resolution Support Services for people seeking asylum, and to expand the SRSS eligibility criteria to focus on the needs and vulnerabilities of individuals and families so that it prevents destitution and homelessness.”

One story of food scarcity:

An emergency relief provider in Victoria shared their recent experience of handing out food parcels to people seeking asylum. The quality of food donations had dropped significantly but the agency was still able to provide some food packages to people. These food parcels included bruised and damaged fruit and canned goods. Previously, people would take the parcels away and prepare food at home. In the most recent drop-in service, the emergency relief worker noticed that people were taking the food parcels into the parking lots and eating the damaged food right there. “People were genuinely starving, so they ate whatever didn’t need cooking right there in front of us. They were desperate and so hungry.”

World Day of the Poor – 13 November, 2022

Pope Francis’ message for the sixth World Day of the Poor has been released.

Celebrated on 13 November, 2022, Pope Francis says, “The World Day of the Poor comes this year as a healthy challenge, helping us to reflect on our style of life and on the many forms of poverty all around us.”

Speaking of the current economic and political crisis in the world, particularly of the Russian invasion of Ukraine which he describes as a super power “imposing its own will in violation of the principle of the self-determination of peoples.” He says, 

“This is the moment for us not to lose heart but to renew” (n. 4).

“As members of civil society, let us continue to uphold the values of freedom, responsibility, fraternity and solidarity. And as Christians, let us always make charity, faith and hope the basis of our lives and our actions.” (n. 5)

“Where the poor are concerned, it is not talk that matters; what matters is rolling up our sleeves and putting our faith into practice through a direct involvement, one that cannot be delegated. At times, however, a kind of laxity can creep in and lead to inconsistent behaviour, including indifference about the poor. It also happens that some Christians, out of excessive attachment to money, remain mired in a poor use of their goods and wealth. These situations reveal a weak faith and feeble, myopic hope.

“We know that the issue is not money itself, for money is part of our daily life as individuals and our relationships in society. Rather, what we need to consider is the value that we put on money: it cannot become our absolute and chief purpose in life. Attachment to money prevents us from seeing everyday life with realism; it clouds our gaze and blinds us to the needs of others. Nothing worse could happen to a Christian and to a community than to be dazzled by the idol of wealth, which ends up chaining us to an ephemeral and bankrupt vision of life.

“It is not a question, then, of approaching the poor with a “welfare mentality”, as often happens, but of ensuring that no one lacks what is necessary. 

“There is an urgent need to find new solutions that can go beyond the approach of those social policies conceived as “a policy for the poor, but never with the poor and never of the poor, much less part of a project that brings people together” (Fratelli Tutti, 169). We need instead to imitate the attitude of the Apostle, who could write to the Corinthians: “I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance” (2 Cor 8:13).” (n. 7).

To read the message in full, go here.

For more information on anti-poverty week, go here: