ACT Liberal leader Alistair Coe says a comprehensive strategy to treat the causes and symptoms of poverty in Canberra must be part of the ACT’s covid recovery.
According to the ACT Council of Social Service, before COVID-19 there were more than 37,000 people living in low-income households in the ACT, including nearly 8000 children. Almost 26,000 Canberrans were living below the poverty line.
He says he expects these figures to have grown as more families and local employers struggle with the economic impact of the pandemic.
“Unlike other cities, poverty is not as obvious or visible in Canberra. However, in every suburb and in almost every street there are people living below the poverty line,” says Coe.
“By almost every measure, Canberra is the most expensive city in the country.
“The cost of housing, car registration, utilities, food, petrol and more has made Canberra unaffordable.
“Many Canberrans are also suffering from significant transport disadvantage as suburban public transport services have been cut.
He says the next ACT government must establish a poverty taskforce to develop a comprehensive strategy to deal with the causes and symptoms of poverty in Canberra.
“In 1998, the Carnell government established a poverty task group to inquire into the nature and extent of poverty in the ACT and develop recommendations about how to respond to the issue,” he says.
“20 years on from the final report, ‘Sharing the Benefits’, the time has come for a new poverty task group to be established to help us make Canberra the best place to live, work and raise a family,” Mr Coe said.