A new street in town. A new direction. Addison Road Community Organisation has a new address from today, with a new street sign in our Centre’s grounds to mark the occasion – ‘Raise the Rate Drive’.

Our new street sign was unveiled by Ricci Bartels, an Addi Road Board Member and a crusading force in the fight to boost the rate of payment for Newstart and Youth Allowance and help people drag themselves out of the poverty trap. You might have seen Ricci on Q&A putting a question to the Prime Minister recently about how she might “have a go to get a go?” Ricci’s still waiting for her answer.

Pas Forgione of the Australian Council of Social Service assisted Ricci in revealing our new street sign to the world. “There are people like you right across the country,” Pas told the crowd in attendance. He said that “a shift had happened”, both in the media and in broader public opinion. as a majority of people now do support a raise in the Newstart and Youth Allowance rates.

Ricci meanwhile urged people to not just seek help in their struggles with poverty – but to also channel their outrage and their experiences, and talk to their neighbours and friends about what it was really like under the current Newstart and Youth Allowance system. Her emphasis was in people understanding the fact they are not alone in their struggles with poverty and bureaucratic abuse. And that just by speaking up you can make change happen.

The final message coming from Ricci and Pas – and from members of the Addison Road Community Organisation as well as representatives attending from Anti-Poverty Week, the Australian Council of Social Service, and Addi Road’s own Inner West Raise the Rate Group – was this : people have the power.

Make use of your community connections and the strength it can offer.

We need a new direction – and ‘Raise the Rate Drive’ points to the best way to go.