Lisa Chesters MP hopes October’s Anti-Poverty Week opens the conversation on the impact of poverty in the Bendigo electorate.
Ms Chesters applauded recent local media reports which identified the high amount of people living under the poverty line in the region.
About 30 per cent of local households earn less than $600 a week, well below the poverty line.
Ms Chesters said a conversation on the issue was long overdue, especially given some of the measures in the Liberal Government’s Budget.
“In Australia today, poverty is not always obvious. Hidden poverty, the poverty endured but not seen, is growing.
"I met people in Bendigo every day who say to me that despite all their hard work, they cannot support a family on their wages.
"How fair has our society become if working people cannot afford to pay their bills? It is only reasonable that these hard-working people are delivered a living wage and a secure job that they can count on.
"Although increasing the minimum wage and creating more full-time secure jobs would help low paid workers, more needs to be done to lower the cost of living.
"Increasing out-of-pocket health expenses, increasing fuel excise, increasing the cost of education whilst decreasing financial support to low income families and individuals will not alleviate poverty."
Ms Chesters called on political representatives, media outlets, community organisations, businesses and individuals to open up a conversation on poverty in our region and ways to combat it.
"Poverty is not an individual problem it's a society problem. When people are forced to live day to day, worried about the basics, they cannot fully participate in society.
"There needs to be a conversation on how to tackle complex challenges like the rise of hidden poverty in our community."