The Queensland University of Technology is helping out disadvantaged students with a series of free breakfasts, as part of Anti-Poverty Week.

Social justice advocates say there are fears of a spike in Australia’s poverty rate when new census data is released next year, because of the global financial crisis and other events.

Tom Gillespie reports.


These students may be getting a free breakfast but the message is much more serious.

Several QUT departments have come together to support Anti-Poverty Week.

A stall here helps out the growing number of students going without meals.

Adam McNiven, QUT Equity Services: “We do know that many a students struggles finacially while they’re here.”

But help is available.

Adam McNiven, QUT Equity Servies: “We’re trying to raise awareness about a lot of the free resources that are on campus that are available to students.”

It is not uncommon for Australian students to go without essential meals regularly, and these trials of poverty also affect members of the
wider community everyday.

Michael Phillips, Former Roma House Resident: “I had nowhere to go because I was straight from New Zealand, I had no friends and that so I ended up on the street.”

Nearly half a million Queenslanders are now living under the poverty line, because of the continuing increase in the price of utilities and food and a tough economic climate.

One hundred thousand people, mostly made up of young people and women, are also underemployed which means they are not able to earn the money they require to stay ahead of the cost of living increases.

And the Queensland Council of Social Services says things will get even tougher until the economy becomes more stable.

Mark Henley, QCOSS Director: “I think that coming after the summer of disasters in Queensland, where the the economy is currently I think that’s putting enormous stresses on families.”

Mr Henley also stresses the importance of anti-poverty week to help support the disadvantaged like here at Roma House.

Mark Henley QCOSS Director: “I think the benefits of Anti Poverty Week is that it highlights there is a problem in the community. A problem that the community as a whole needs to look to to support.”

The full extent of poverty in Australia is expected to become clearer after the details of the 2011 census are released next year.

Tom Gillespie, QUT News.