TV they don’t want you to see

Struggle Street is a raw insight into a side of life many would prefer to ignore.

Much controversy surrounded the premiere of the new SBS three-part documentary Struggle Street. Blacktown Mayor Stephen Bali organising a blockade of the broadcaster’s Artarmon Headquarters with a convoy of garbage trucks in an attempt to postpone part one of the program screening last night.

But, as they say, the show must go on – and on it went.

Struggle Street is a raw insight into a side of life many would prefer not to deal with, let alone have aired on national television. Narrated by David Field, Struggle Street exposes the gritty, real-life issues that affect real people living in the downtrodden welfare-dependent suburb of Mount Druitt, just outside of glamorous Sydney.

The documentary focuses on people dealing with drug addiction, physical and mental illness, disability, unemployment and family dysfunction. It isn’t pretty – it’s not meant to be. It simply opens a doorway into a reality that is often ignored and it gives a voice to those Australians who are living on the fringes. 

Why not watch Struggle Street on SBS OnDemand to see what all the fuss is about?


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    7th May 2015
    One can see the urgent need for the Govt to give them more welfare, how else can they break this cycle of poverty and neglect? ... The more wealthy in society need to do more for them and starting with taxing your Super and winding back the ability to get the Aged Pension or Part Aged Pension is just a start to this process. Roll on the next Labor budget for greater Social Justice for all.
    7th May 2015
    I can only assume your post is satirical. I had a few chuckles although Big Al was less amused.
    These people and their 6 dogs appear to have the collective IQ of a brick siring children whenever the whim takes them and then blame the world because they are uneducated, poor and left behind. There may be good argument why we should prolong this dysfunctional economic, social and sexual system but I do not know what it is. It will win no friends to say this and will provoke the self-righteous wrath of, well, the self-righteous hand wringing, letter writing wrathful individuals; a species which never fails to contaminate almost every debate in Australian life with its sneers. smears and its moral superiority.
    7th May 2015
    It may be 2015 but has much changed since the 16, 17, 18 Hundreds. We still have the haves and have nots, the only difference is back then some tried hard to improve but I guess they did not have drugs booze and benefits. but we now have things to prevent pregnancies that might help and what about a law that says 1 dog per family unless you pay for a licence to breed them.
    7th May 2015
    Is more Welfare the answer, I think the Governments of the day should create a better environment so that companies can grow and employ more people this getting them off the welfare cycle.
    7th May 2015
    Earlier retirement and get the young ones in at the bottom and perhaps less imports would make more jobs.

    7th May 2015
    What a pathetic, myopic perspective, Peterrj! Typical = throw a bucket of money at the problem and it will fix itself! Absolute rubbish. Provide more welfare to these people and the winners will be the drug dealers, breweries, tobacco companies and the gaming industry. What these people need is a role model/protector/big brother type to lead them out of the disastrous circumstances they have allowed to envelope their lives. Until we get real, and develop real solutions with practical steps to lead these unfortunate morons to a better future, there is no hope. You could triple welfare and it still wont provide a workable solution for these unfortunates!
    7th May 2015
    I think it was said tongue-in-cheek Big Al.
    7th May 2015
    Well said Big Al
    7th May 2015
    Don't believe this is a true documentary as some of the people in it have come out and said that they were told to act certain ways for the 'drama' of the show. As for shelling out more welfare, to further cement these people in the life style of thinking everyone owes them a living, I am totally against this. Not so neglected that they can't afford cigarettes and booze, the answer is as always, education. Sure some people need a hand up but not constant handouts, when this generation of workers have retired who will be left to pay the taxes so that there is a welfare system? Half the under 30's don't work now and as for all the refugees coming in, well they also don't work, at least not on the books but sure know how to line up at Centrelink. We already have a generation of people that have a gimmee mentality and we do not need to encourage this further.
    7th May 2015
    While I'm sure the family pictured are lovely people, can't help noticing they have six!! dogs, if you can't look after yourself you sure as hell can't look after your pets. Yes the animals look well cared for and loved and that is the point, can these people be doing it that hard, I'm on a fixed and small income and I certainly can not afford more than one dog and be able to treat it in the manner our furry friends deserve.
    8th May 2015
    Agree about the dogs...I thought it was illegal to have more than 2 dogs at one residence. Nevertheless, pets are expensive and just to feed one dog is pricey, let alone vet bills and vaccinations.
    Young Simmo
    7th May 2015
    I watched it up to the 2nd add break, then turned it off and went and had a game of Spider Solitaire, much more exciting.
    It was drawn out with repeated situations, so I left my Credit Card in my wallet.
    I WON'T use the words, sympathy hunters and lazy bludgers, because that isn't nice language.
    7th May 2015
    Looking forward to seeing it "On Demand" as was out.
    8th May 2015
    The interesting thing here is the differences between the oldsters and the youngsters after 40 years of the Nanny State welfare system brought in by one E G Whitlam. The "twenty-somethings" appear to be more interested in their own selfish pursuit of hedonistic pleasure at the taxpayers' expense than in finding work and developing a sense of responsibility for themselves. An unforseen consequence of the Welfare System, perhaps?

    Alcoholism, drug abuse and theft seem to be the main goals in their dysfunctional lives. Living in taxpayer funded housing, not all of the tenants display a responsible attitude toward looking after where they live, leading a subhuman drug fuelled existence . Public housing was intended to provide low cost housing for working families on low income. This has been allowed to negate its original purpose, causing public housing estates to degenerate ( in the public eye, at least) into places swarming with dole bludgers, ferals, criminals, unwed mothers, dope addicts, alcoholics and other unemployable undesirables. To many, public housing is where you put society's human garbage to keep them away and out of sight from so called "respectable" people in the more genteel suburbs.

    As long as the ferals stay in their public housing ghettos, they allow the politicians to ignore their responsibility to the community, taxpayers and others, (including aged and or disabled pensioners) unfortunate enough to have to put up such feral vandalism and misbehaviour.

    Struggle Street gives us an unflattering view of the "Santa Claus" approach to government assistance to the less well off. Perhaps more "stick" and less "Carrot" needs to be applied before the rot in places like Mt Druitt spreads.

    Throwing more money at the problem, as Peterrj suggests, does nothing to rectifying the problem. In stead of Holden Commodores and trail bikes disturbing the peace, the yobbos would be hooning around in BMWs and on Harley Davidsons!
    8th May 2015
    I watched part one and found the narration to be non judgemental and neutral in talking to some of the less affluent and socially inept in Mt. Druitt. Having worked in DSS (now CentreLink) I can affirm that, although a small minority of Mt. Druitt residents, such people provide a genuine example of lives and circumstances of too many Australians in all states.

    Unfortunately, the problems will not be easily fixed because there are many factors involved. Children who grow up in such areas have an extremely poor chance of rising above the negative influences they are surrounded with - but it can and does happen - with a lot of determination, encouragement, and outside support. Blame and negativity do not help.

    I think this TV program should be a big wake-up to the participants and the viewers.

    The people in the program should (like all of us) be aware that editing and scene-setting is part and parcel of documentaries and "reality" shows. Perhaps seeing themselves and their surroundings has opened the participants eyes to how they look to outsiders? Hopefully, it will provide the incentive for individuals to make small positive steps to improve their lives.
    9th May 2015
    You rightly say that Struggle Street is a wake up call, Pardelope. I doubt that the people shown in the program will "wake up" and change their ways, if my understanding of human nature is correct. The viewers not affected by similar circumstances will yawn and say "Thank God I don't have to live there," and go on about their daily routines. Politicians and bureaucrats in the governmental agencies that could do something about improving the situation will duck for cover, wait until the fuss blows over and go back to business as usual.

    I wish I could share your hope that those shown in the program do try to change their lifestyles for the better. But after all, we are dealing here with people, who are creatures of habit, and so very little, if anything, will change.

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