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• Senate inquiry recognition

The Salvation Army has drawn from its experience with poverty and disadvantage to inform a Senate inquiry that is set to make recommendations in October.

An interim report into the Extent and Nature of Poverty in Australia demonstrates that The Salvation Army has significantly influenced the inquiry’s direction.

The interim report, released by the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs on 4 May, is part of a broader process of inquiry and reporting to be finalised by 31 October, with recommendations.

The Salvation Army’s Policy and Advocacy team developed a submission to the inquiry, which was released in February. This included a definition of poverty, the nature of financial hardship, debt and the cost of living, the poor tax and a breakdown of some ways poverty is experienced.

The interim report demonstrated the use of the structure provided by The Salvation Army regarding the manifestations of poverty, and the Committee discussed the submission’s explanations and examples. It also included findings from The Salvation Army on housing unaffordability, cultural and economic factors and the structural drivers behind poverty.

Policy and Advocacy advisor Josh Gani said the level of reference to The Salvation Army’s submission in the interim report was encouraging.

“The Committee has used the depth and breadth of our service delivery and expertise, and we are proud to be a leader in the arena as a foundation for their conclusions,” he said.

The submission argued that a more effective definition of poverty than the use of financial numbers was to describe it as an inability to access the essentials for living life with dignity.

Josh said the interim report’s content demonstrated the Committee’s receptiveness to this argument and showed respect for The Salvation Army’s position on poverty and experience in addressing complex needs.

– Kirralee Nicolle


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