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Poverty on the agenda on Mid North Coast


22 August 2003
The Mid North Coast has been identified as having some of the highest rates of poverty in NSW in a report produced by a leading social researcher Professor Tony Vinson.

Professor Vinson, who has completed the study Unequal in Life: The Distribution of Social Disadvantage in Victoria and New South Wales, will be one of the keynote speakers at a conference on poverty, to be held in Coffs Harbour on November 20 and 21.

The two-day conference, "Breaking the Silence: Re-Thinking Poverty in a Changing World", is being hosted jointly by Mid North Coast Regional Council for Social Development, Southern Cross University, TAFE NSW- North Coast Institute, Many Rivers ATSIC Regional Council, Future of Aging Coffs Coast and Coffs Harbour Neighbourhood Centre/Crisis Accommodation Brokerage.

The conference aims to put the issue of poverty back on the Government and community agenda and has attracted some of the State’s leading experts in the field.

In addition to Professor Vinson, guest and keynote speakers will include Michael Raper of the Welfare Rights Centre and former president of the Australian Council of Social Service, Dr Judy Atkinson Professor of Indigenous studies at Southern Cross University, and Robyn Henderson, Director of the NSW Department for Women.

Conference co-ordinator Charlie Brennan said the conference would be of interest to a broad range of students, community agency workers, educators, academics and members of the community, including those experiencing some form of poverty.

“The Mid North Coast is highly represented in the poorest regions of NSW. In the last poverty report by Professor Tony Vinson, Bowraville was identified as the fourth poorest postcode area in NSW,” Mr Brennan said.

“The issues of poverty need to be put back on the agenda. The distribution of power and income, and access to reasonable living conditions, are becoming less equal both locally and globally. A significant number of people are being seriously disadvantaged.”

The first day of the conference will focus upon the identification of the issues, consequences and rethinking of poverty. Day two will focus on solutions, actions and the formation of broad coalitions across community, government, universities, TAFE and business.

Mr Brennan said the conference, to be held at the Coffs Harbour Education Campus on November 20 and 21, was expected to attract 300 people from around the State.
It will also include a series of interactive workshops and feature Bellingen Playback Theatre.

For registration information contact Suzanne Penny at Mid North Coast Regional Council for Social Development on 65684040. For any other conference information contact Charlie Brennan by e-mail at [email protected] or phone 66593187.