The Bendigo Advertiser | Elisha McMurray | 22 February  2017

Poverty on our doorstep

The recent passing of the UN proclaimed World Social Justice Day on Monday, February 20 presents an opportunity for Australia to reflect on our role affecting the eradication of unemployment, poverty and the social and economic exclusion of vulnerable people around the world.

Living within a developed nation such as Australia makes it easy for many of us to overlook the growing inequality in wealth and income within and between nations states.

Three billion people around the world live in extreme poverty on less than $2.50 a day and children make up half of this shocking number. While this may sound like a distant problem, many of the world’s poorest people are Australia’s next door neighbours, residing in countries closely located to us in the Asia Pacific region.

By leading and contributing to the development of our neighbouring countries, Australia ensures we foster a safe and prosperous Asia Pacific region which we as a country can thrive in for the future.

Amidst  the context of Australia’s disheartening and severe budget cuts to AusAid, it is promising to see the Turnbull government turning a corner and encouraging Australians to reflect on the way we engage with international aid and development by commissioning a Foreign Policy White Paper.

The Turnbull government’s call for Australians to make public submissions before February 28 is a positive step forward towards realising the underlying principles of World Social Justice Day, as well as contributing our fair share towards international poverty alleviation measures.

Elisha McMurray, Reservoir