Anti-Poverty Initiatives in South Australian Councils

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Anti-Poverty Initiatives in South Australian Councils

To coincide with Anti-Poverty Week 2014 the Local Government Association of South Australia and the South Australian division of Local Government Managers Australia, through its Community Managers Network, joined forces to compile a report on anti-poverty initiatives undertaken by a range of councils in South Australia. Below is a summary of the report along with a link to the full document. The full report details some fantastic case studies and examples of grassroots initiatives in local communities directly and indirectly addressing issues of inequality.

A report by the Australian Council of Social Services indicates that:

... in 2010, after taking account of housing costs, an estimated 2,265,000 people or 12.8% of all residents in Australia, including 575,000 children (17.3% of all children), lived in households below the most austere poverty line widely used in international research. (ACOSS Poverty in Australia Report 2013)

ACOSS identifies five primary causes, or determinants, of poverty which need to be addressed to ameliorate the levels of poverty in Australia. The five causes are:

  1. Access to work and income
  2. Education and lifelong learning
  3. Affordable housing and shelter
  4. Health and wellbeing
  5. Affordable services.

Councils support a wide range of activities that contribute to the prevention or amelioration of the impacts of poverty in their communities. Councils, in partnership with the community, other councils, professional organisations, the private sector, not-for-profits and other spheres of government provide education and tools for capacity building, support, advocacy, and programs to address the determinants of poverty, both to support those in need and to build the capacity of their communities to help themselves, and each other.

A collective view of the activities of councils is timely given the increased statutory responsibilities afforded to South Australian councils under the SA Public Health Act 2011. Under the Public Health Act a council is the local public health authority for its area with the responsibility for identifying public health risks, and is required to take action to preserve, protect and promote public health within its area; public health meaning the health and wellbeing of individuals in the context of the wider health of the community.

Through this project, the Local Governmnet Association of South Australia (LGASA) and Community Managers Network (CMN) have combined to better inform councils, communities, and local government stakeholders and partners of the impact and variety of "anti-poverty" programs, policies and initiatives undertaken by councils. 

The idea for a database of Local Government Anti-Poverty Initiatives grew out of discussions during Anti-Poverty Week 2013 between the LGASA and CMN. It was highlighted that, while it is important to set aside a week for special activities and initiatives to raise awareness, councils have programs all year round designed to deal with the causes and implications of poverty. The Anti-Poverty Initiatives in Councils report brings together outcomes of a survey of councils and case studies gathered to present an overview of the range of anti-poverty activities initiated by councils in South Australia.

During Anti-poverty Week 2014 (12–18 October), councils have been invited to submit further examples of anti-poverty activities to build the database. The CMN will accept submissions until the end of October.

Thank you to all the council staff that submitted case studies and images, and those that participated in the survey. LGA staff and members of the Community Managers Network on the project team who contributed to development of the survey and report, analysis of the survey results, and production of the Anti-poverty Initiatives report, must also be acknowledged, especially:

  • Cam Opie - Vice Chair Community Managers Network, and
  • Terra Lea Ranson - Member of Community Managers Network (City of Onkaparinga)
  • Rebecca Perkin - Policy Officer, Planning and Community, LGASA.

For further information on individual case studies please contact the person or council listed on the case study. For more general queries about the report, survey findings, or submitting your own case study, please contact:

Cam Opie: Vice-Chair, Community Managers Network ([email protected])


Rebecca Perkin: Policy Officer Planning and Community, Local Government Association of South Australia ([email protected])

The full report is available here.

Cam Opie: Vice Chair, Community Managers Network   Rebecca Perkin: Policy Officer - Planning and Community, Local Government Association.   Terra Lea Ranson: Member of Community Managers Network, City of Onkaparinga

This blog is adapted from an article originally published by the LGASA. Image courtesy of the LGASA.

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