Last week, as many members were aware, it was Anti-Poverty Week. It was a week to encourage Australians to participate in events that highlight what is needed to overcome the issue of poverty and to recognise the hardship that is faced not only here but overseas.
Despite enormous economic growth, poverty continues to increase in Australia. In October 2014 the Australian Council of Social Service released a new report revealing that poverty is growing, with an estimated 2.5 million people, or 13.9 per cent of all people living in Australia, living below the accepted poverty line. I certainly know we feel that in Northern Metropolitan Region.
Poverty disproportionally affects marginalised people. Whilst there are some dedicated individuals working towards decreasing poverty in Australia — and I was fortunate enough to meet a number of them last week — much needs to be done.
I had the great opportunity to serve lunch at the St Mary’s House of Welcome in Fitzroy. It sees about 80 people every morning and a similar number of people at lunchtime every day. For $2 you get a three-course meal and silver service by volunteers. You sit down at a table and you are served quite a delightful meal. It is about instilling some respect. It is about bringing people into a service that is clean, modern and effective.