The first two seasons of Struggle Street gave a voice to Australians doing it tough and sparked a national conversation on a range of issues facing some of the country’s most disadvantaged communities.
In the four years since SBS first aired Struggle Street, the country remains at crisis point. Now, more than three million Australians (13.2%) live below the poverty line. Poverty and hardship are getting worse, and for the more than 30% of the population who live outside Australia’s capital cities, disadvantage is more prevalent.*
Season 3 of four-part observational documentary Struggle Street will explore the economic, social and intergenerational struggles facing Australians in rural and regional communities.
This season features stories of those in the Riverina region of New South Wales, from the regional centre of Wagga Wagga to smaller surrounding towns. The stories explored represent the issues affecting people throughout the country, including the impact of the current drought, unemployment, access to healthcare, homelessness, the effects of drugs and alcohol, the challenges facing those with mental ill-health and physical disabilities and the decline of small-town rural Australia.
Through sharing stories of adversity and resilience, Struggle Street helps provide all Australians with a deeper understanding of the complex issues affecting individuals, families and communities living on the land and in our rural and regional towns.
David Galloway, Director of Programs at Struggle Street production company, Lune Media, said, “The experience of poverty and disadvantage is felt right across the so-called ‘lucky country’ and includes hard-working families who face a daily struggle to make ends meet.
“The dairy industry in the Riverina has been particularly hard hit, with the perfect storm of drought and low milk prices contributing to the decline of family-owned farms in the area. All those we’ve filmed have important stories to tell about their own lives, and the lives of others in similar circumstances around the country.”
SBS Television and Online Content Director Marshall Heald said, “As a public broadcaster, it’s part of our role to make shows that challenge audience perceptions and drive national conversation around difficult issues. The first two seasons of Struggle Street did just that and received a largely positive response from those who watched it and from people working in the social sector.”
SBS is working with a range of organisations to increase the reach and impact of Struggle Street in the community. In partnership with the University of Sydney’s Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use, the University of New South Wales’ Social Policy Research Centre and Charles Sturt University, SBS is creating the second iteration of its successful ‘The Truth About…’ video series.
These videos will address common myths about poverty and its contributing factors, interviewing experts, frontline workers and those with lived experiences to bust myths about some of our society’s biggest misconceptions.
‘The Truth About…’ series first launched during season 2 of Struggle Street as online videos, extending to educational impact videos which ran in GP clinics across Australia.
Dr Yuvisthi Naidoo, Research Fellow, Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW, said, “Struggle Street has been instrumental in maintaining a spotlight on disadvantage in Australia. The bundling of the television documentary, ‘The Truth About ...’ online video series and the vignettes that combine personal stories with research statistics is unique and remarkable. The associated outreach program has drawn on current research, including the Australian Council of Social Service/UNSW Poverty and Inequality Reports. In doing so, it asks all Australians to grapple with the kind of society they want to live in and the role of government, business and community to enact change.”
Season 3 of Struggle Street is now streaming at SBS On Demand.