City of Busselton councillors cooked up a storm at Cliff’s Kitchen on Wednesday during Anti Poverty Week, to help raise awareness about the causes and consequences of poverty and hardship.
In Australia, poverty and severe hardship affects more than one million people, with deprivation being the highest cause in rural areas, according to the National Rural Health Alliance Inc.
Deprivation is a situation where people cannot access goods or services because a majority of their money was spent on unavoidable items like health care or housing, the organisation stated.
Compared to their city counterparts, people living in country towns had more difficulty raising $500 in an emergency or $2000 a week.
The organisation also found that rural residents reported the highest rates of service exclusion meaning it was more difficult to access dental care, childcare or financial services.
NRHA stated that the costs of food and petrol increased as communities became more remote and in very remote areas the cost could increase up to 20 per cent more than cities.
The most vulnerable groups, according to the NRHA were sole parents, unemployed people, families relying on welfare, Aboriginal or Torrest Strait Islander people and people living with a disability.
The ‘National and Economic Social Impact Survey’ report released by the Salvation Army this year found 70 per cent of respondents said their biggest challenge was being able to afford food.
The report looked at the challenges, barriers and levels of disadvantage experienced by people who access the Salvation Army’s Emergency Relief services.
More than 40 per cent of respondents in the survey said managing their mental health and wellbeing was the second biggest challenge followed by managing financial stress and difficulties.
The report also found people living on government income and support payments spent $200 each week on housing which was 56 per cent of their disposable income.
Many people were left with $17.14 each day to live on with single parents being the worst off with $14.35 to live on each day, which fell “well below the poverty line.”
For more information on Anti Poverty Week visit antipovertyweek.org.au.