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Byron Shire
October 3, 2022

Poverty more widespread in the northern rivers

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20 per cent of the state’s rough sleepers are in the northern rivers, according to NCOSS. Photo Rudiger Wasser. For more visit www.rudigerwasser.com.

While our region accounts for only four per cent of the NSW population, some 20 per cent of the state’s rough sleepers are here in the northern rivers, according to Tony Davies, CEO of Social Futures.

And as many as 28 per cent of children in the Kyogle LGA are living in poverty, with all local LGAs having more than 20 per cent.

All up, there are some 11,000 children living in poverty on the northern rivers.

Mr Davies was speaking about a new plan released yesterday by the NSW Council of Social Service (NCOSS) and presented to NSW treasurer Gladys Berejiklian that calls for state budget changes that would reduce the experience of poverty and disadvantage in NSW.

The NCOSS plan, released to coincide with Anti-Poverty Week, identifies key funding priorities for our region including: investment in a cost of living package, mental health services for young people, early childhood education, a state-wide roll out of nurse-led home visits, oral health services and introducing phase 2 of the Social and Affordable Housing Fund.

Mr Davies said the priorities highlighted in the plan were ‘immensely important for communities in the Northern Rivers, particularly those related to social and affordable housing.’

Sandra Handley, Northern Rivers Regional Manager of YWCA NSW says ‘all of the seven local government areas in the Northern Rivers have rates of child poverty which are higher than the NSW average, which sees one in every seven children living in poverty.

‘Organisations and communities in our region are working together to respond to the challenges and issues identified in the submission. We need well-targeted investment to respond to those challenges and to reduce persistent poverty rates in NSW and within the Northern Rivers’ states Handley.

NCOSS CEO Tracy Howe says the plan is the result of ‘extensive consultation across the state with communities, services and with people experiencing poverty and disadvantage themselves.’

Mr Davies said ‘the priorities in the submission reflect those of the Northern Rivers Social Change Collaboration – a group of organisations and service providers working together to improve community wellbeing in the region – including collective work to support better chances for children and young people, and attracting and facilitating investment in delivery of affordable housing in the Northern Rivers.’


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2 COMMENTS

  1. Perhaps it might be a good idea to go and interview all the rough sleepers to see what their perspective is. Why they think they are doing what they are doing and what they would like different. Perhaps there is a clue in creating a positive lifestyle out of this rather than trying to squeeeze them onto the existing niches that they may have been trying to escape.

  2. Are the rough sleepers, part of the larger than life back-packer community, enjoying the mildest and most enjoyable weather conditions and environment in Australia?

    A more realistic view of poverty on the coastal strip, are struggling families with children on low incomes; their housing and transport needs.

    More urgent work needs to be done to protect them, by simply clamping down on slum lords and rent gougers!

    With the sudden influx of road workers from the new expressway road building project between Sydney and Brisbane, has come an increase in rents and evictions, of long term renters from the once affordable housing, making way for housing road workers, as a lucrative alternative for landlords.

    In my observation, this has been a merciless process, propped up (and promoted) by local real estate agencies.

    Laws protecting tenants are weak, and weighted heavily towards landlord profits, especially in NSW.

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