Updated: Nov 3, 2018
Image credit: Craig Sefton
2.5 million Australians live in poverty. That is approximately 13.9% of our population. While Australians don’t experience extreme poverty in the same way millions of people around the world do, the effects of living in poverty have a phenomenal impact on an individual’s life as well as the lives of those around them.
There are over 600,000 children living in poverty around Australia. For these children, the effects of living in poverty can often be seen in their performance at school as many miss out on a nutritious breakfast to give them enough energy and vitamins to perform at their best throughout the school day. Poverty also affects people living with a disability as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at a higher rate than that of the total population.
Image credit: Rusty Stewart
The Global Goals have a number of aims and objectives around the eradication of poverty. The first is to end extreme poverty everywhere. In Australia, this has already been completed.
The second is to halve relative poverty according to national definitions. This means our government has committed to lifting over 1 million Australians out of poverty over the next 15 years. That is definitely something to celebrate!
But how do we do this? Well, the next few targets will tell us how. We need to implement social protection systems for all. This means access to economic resources and basic services such as welfare, Medicare, legal aid and counselling services.
This is all very well and good, but what if something happens to the economy and we cannot provide this assistance anymore? This is where sustainable development comes into play. Target 1.5 aims to build the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations against three types of disasters: economic, social and environmental. This means that by 2030, not only will more than 1 million people have been lifted out of poverty but those living in poverty will be more resilient to unforeseen events which would normally have a profound impact on their lives.
Image credit: Michelle Robinson
Of course, we cannot just focus on achieving these goals in Australia. We also need to look beyond our borders to our neighbours. Target 1.a aims to ensure significant mobilisation of resources, including through development cooperation, in order to provide adequate and predictable means to developing countries. Not only is it in Australia’s best interest to lift our own population out of poverty, it is in Australia’s best interest to help countries in our region lift their population out of poverty. To ensure we can continue to do this, it is of the upmost importance to create policy frameworks to support investment in poverty eradication actions. These policy frameworks must take gender into consideration if we are going to really achieve equality too!
If eradicating poverty not only around the world but also in our own backyard interests you, check out “Goal 1: No Poverty” and head over to our What Can I Do? page to see how you can become involved in achieving the Global Goals!