Struggle Street returns to SBS for its second season at the end of the month.
Filmed in 2016 over six months in Queensland and Victoria, the new series will again tackle the impacts of social and economic disadvantage in Australia, through personal stories from a diverse group of Australians.
Marshall Heald, SBS Television and Online Content Director, said, “The new series of Struggle Street offers a raw and unflinching portrayal of struggle and hardship and makes for difficult viewing, but these are the stories we need to hear most. The purpose of the program is to raise awareness about social and economic hardship in Australia today and deepen our understanding of the challenges facing us as a community.”
Associate Professor Frances Kay-Lambkin from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre said, “Struggle Street series two presents a sobering view of life for many Australians living with mental illness, alcohol or other drug use, and additional challenges…not just those who appear in the documentary. I hope Australia views the people in these stories with compassion, and a realisation that they are doing the best they can with what life has presented them with. I also hope they appreciate the incredible resiliency these people have, and are moved by their stories. I commend SBS for their work on this important documentary.”
In the two years since SBS aired Struggle Street, an observational documentary series highlighting some of the issues facing Australia’s most disadvantaged communities, the country remains at crisis point with unemployment, homelessness, rising drug use, mental illness, soaring rents and declining industries among the complex issues that affect people across Australia today.
A report by the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) and the UNSW Social Policy Research Centre revealed that a staggering 2.99 million Australians – 13.3% of the population – live below the poverty line.
Over two weeks, the series will delve deeper into some of the key social issues that are affecting millions of Australians. It explores the challenges facing nearly one million working Australians who live on the poverty line[iii]; the damaging impact of the decline in manufacturing industries; homelessness, particularly among women aged 55+[iv], as rent and house prices continue to rise; the financial difficulties facing Australia’s disability carers; the ramifications of illicit drug use and, the daily challenges facing those who live with mental and physical illness.
The first series of Struggle Street ignited national debate around these issues, helping Australians to better understand the realities of social and economic hardship. Series two will continue this crucial national conversation.
In order to raise further awareness of the help available to Australians affected by the issues raised in the series, SBS is working with a number of charities and organisations who will provide further context, information and resources, as well as contributing to on-air discussion shows. The partners include the Social Policy Research Centre, the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre and Beyond Blue.
Some of the key issues featured in the series include:
Despite an increase in the number of Australians working full time, the ripple effect of the country’s car manufacturers closing last year is expected to culminate in the loss of 200,000 jobs alone[v]. Struggle and hardship is not just limited to those without work; nearly a million working Australians are also living on the poverty line.
Homelessness and housing issues
Homelessness is one of the most potent examples of disadvantage and social exclusion in Australia today and affects more than 105,000 people.
Women aged over 55 are the fastest growing demographic[viii] and nearly half of those who leave prison in Australia are homeless within the first six months.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), the number of people illicitly using drugs has increased from 2.3 million to 3.1 million in recent years[x] and the number of regular Ice users has tripled to 250,000.
Mental illness comprises a wide range of disorders and its influence is far-reaching for society as a whole. Issues associated with conditions such as depression, anxiety and stress include poverty, unemployment and homelessness.
More than four million Australians will experience a mental disorder at some time in their life of which nearly a third will have a drug or alcohol problem.
In 2015 there were 2.7 million unpaid carers in Australia. Around 856,000 are primary carers, with an average age of 55. A quarter of Australian carers on benefits live below the poverty line.
Series two is produced by KEO Films with funding support from Screen Australia and Film Victoria.
8.30pm Tuesday 28 November and continues 29, 30 November and 5, 6, 7 December on SBS.
SBS will also air support content across the network including an NITV The Point special about Indigenous housing issues on Wednesday 29 November, a live discussion show on SBS on 7 December and The Feed special on SBS Viceland on Friday 8 December.