Poverty in South Australia

Poverty in South Australia

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (17:16): I move:

That this council—

1. Recognises that this week, from 14 to 20 October, is national poverty week;

2. Notes that 200,000 people in South Australia currently live in poverty; and

3. Commits to working towards ending poverty in South Australia.

Not for the first time in this place, I raise awareness of the issues of poverty facing South Australia in 2018. We should not have to commemorate this week because there should be no South Australians living in poverty. We learn that, in fact, South Australia has the highest poverty rate in the nation. That new research and analysis by the Australian Council of Social Service and the University of New South Wales shows that more than three million people in Australia were living below the poverty line in 2015-16, and that number includes 739,000 children.

It equates to about one in eight adults and one in six children. More than 14.7 per cent of South Australian residents live below the poverty line. That number is just $433 a week for a single adult and $909 for a couple with two children. I have to echo the words of the ACOSS chief executive, who addressed the National Press Club and campaigned to raise the rate of Newstart and Youth Allowance to help people break out of the cycle of poverty: it is time to share the pie and advance Australia fair.

It is not fair in Australia when one in six children and one in eight adults are living in poverty. It is not fair in Australia when people in a rich agricultural nation, as the Hon. Justin Hanson remarked earlier in today's proceedings, are experiencing food poverty. Food insecurity should not be real in South Australia in 2018. We know that people are dumpster diving. While the supermarkets have fresh produce going to waste, at the end of the day, in the dark of night, South Australians are dumpster diving. They are not the incredibly Dickensian archetypes of old: these are suburban mums and dads dumpster diving.

There is so much more we can do. I am heartened to hear that the Labor Party, in their convention this weekend, propose to raise the rate of Newstart. I hope in my heart that we see even stronger shows of support when, in Adelaide in December this year, the ALP has their national conference. A federal election is looming. We must all do our part to eradicate poverty in this state, and raising the rate of Newstart and payments such as Youth Allowance will go a long way to ending that terrible situation.

I commend Labor Party members who have fought internally within their party, and I urge Liberal government members to take notice of this as an issue, because it is at your peril that you ignore the growing rate of inequality in this country. This 'Advance Australia Fair' that is not fair for all Australians will not be tolerated at the ballot box, and it should not be tolerated by this parliament. I urge all members to attend and support poverty events that are happening this week so that we can see this week end and never be held again because it would have no need to exist.

I commend the work of those members of this place who are, I know, seeking to end inequality in our society and seeking to end poverty. I urge us all to redouble our efforts and recommit to ending this scourge. With those few words, I commend the motion.

Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. T.J. Stephens.

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