The third hearing for the Senate inquiry into the nature and extent of poverty in Australia took place in Murray Bridge, South Australia on Tuesday.
The hearing focused on regional communities with the Senate committee hearing from local organisations, SA based advocacy groups as well as individuals with lived experience of poverty sharing their personal stories.
Greens spokesperson for social services and chair of the Community Affairs Committee, Senator Janet Rice said:
“Poverty is impacting so many Australians and it is only getting worse. With skyrocketing rents, interest rate rises, and months of inflation, so many are struggling to get by. From not being able to afford nutritious food, an education, housing, the resources to get a job, this is having a significant impact on their physical health and mental wellbeing.
“Today in Murray Bridge we heard harrowing stories of long term poverty including someone who was told by a support service that they aren’t homeless because they are living in their car and another who had no money was sent to a food relief centre where they had to pay for mouldy onions.
“One witness said “Poverty is a political choice, you choose to keep us homeless, you choose to keep us hungry, you choose to keep us malnourished, you choose to keep us in poverty"
“In rural and regional communities the poverty cycle continues, there are less services, less education opportunities, less jobs.
“One thing was heard loud and clear, the rate of income support is not enough to live on.
“The Greens are calling on the Labor Government to raise the rate of all income support payments above the poverty line and provide people with a guaranteed liveable income.”