Launch of Anti-Poverty Week

Published on 13 October 2020

Wai Kit Yung speaking at Anti-Poverty Week

Anti-Poverty Week has been launched in Hobart today, bringing awareness to the factors that lead to poverty and those who experience it.

Deputy Lord Mayor Helen Burnet, who launched the week at Mathers Place today, said the COVID-19 pandemic had demonstrated that factors that lead to poverty can strike anyone.

“2020 has been a year unprecedented in many ways,” she said. “While poverty has always existed in our community, COVID-19 has extended poverty’s reach and weakened the diverse safety nets that many in our community had setup to protect themselves from it.

“Poverty can happen to anyone at any time, there is no one area of community that is affected.”

Cr Burnet acknowledged the plight of international students and temporary visa holders, who have been impacted heavily by the pandemic.

“Two months ago, the City of Hobart distributed an online survey to 31 food relief services operating in the local government area to better understand the change in need experienced by these services as a result of COVID-19.

“The services who responded to the survey collectively provide food relief to approximately 1250 people across Greater Hobart each week. Their responses told us that their traditional customers had reduced in number, perhaps as a direct result of the JobSeeker supplement payments, but that international students and other temporary visa holders had overwhelmingly increased their need for food support.”

Cr Burnet was accompanied at the launch by representatives from key community sector organisations and international student Wai Kit Yung (pictured), who provided a first-hand experience of life during the pandemic.

This year, Anti-Poverty Week is supporting the Everyone’s Home campaign – which advocates for affordable housing as a key component to ending poverty – and the Raise the Rate campaign seeking an ongoing increase to unemployment payments.

“If we can achieve one thing from Anti-Poverty Week 2020, it should be for us all to gain a better understanding and awareness that poverty can affect anyone – often with little to no warning," Cr Burnet said.

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