The SBS poverty documentary, Struggle Street, left NSW viewers in shock after its airing, and it may very well be heading to Melbourne’s western suburb of Sunshine.
The controversial series filmed its first episodes in the NSW suburb, Mount Druitt, and caused chaos among the community with it’s negative portrayal of the neighbourhood.
The show’s producers are on the hunt for Victoria’s equivalent to Mount Druitt, potentially looking at the gritty suburb of Sunshine.
Producers say the Victorian debut of Struggle Street will show the raw reality of living under the poverty line in Victoria, and as Australia’s Poverty Week comes to a close, Sunshine residents are starting to come to grips with the reality of their suburb.
Sunshine resident Sheree Tallis has recently moved into her own place in the western suburb, and says that the streets of Sunshine are filled with signs of poverty.
“There are a lot of homeless people in the area, no doubt I am living around poverty.” Ms Tallis said. “I see it every day in Sunshine.”
In a 2014 report by the Australian Council of Social Service, it is stated that over 600,000 or 17.7 per cent of Australian children are living in poverty.
The report showed that there are an estimated 2.5 million people in Australia living below the internationally accepted poverty line.
The Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research (MIAESR) have declared the poverty line as inclusive of housing costs, the poverty line is $958.23 per week for a family comprising two adults, one of whom is working, and two dependent children.
According to MIAESR, this is a decrease of 31 cents over the poverty line, from late 2014.
Emma King, from the Victorian Council of Social Services, spoke to The Newsroom about the perception of poverty among the Australian public.
“We need to change the language around poverty and disadvantage.” Ms King said.
“Too often, over recent years, we have seen people who are struggling to get by demonised and belittled, particularly by people in media and politics with significant power and influence.”
Ms King said Anti-Poverty Week had two aims, “To strengthen public understanding of the causes and consequences of poverty and hardship around the world and in Australia, and encourage research, discussion and action to address these problems, including action by individuals, communities, organisations and governments.”
Anti-Poverty Week is tackling a growing issue in Australia, and with producers of Struggle Street already in contact with Sunshine residents, the reality may be bought to our screens sooner than we think. – Photo and report by Jake Benoiton
Photo of one of 2.5 million Australians who suffer from poverty