Before dawn, a group of men shuffle into a cold storage factory in outer Melbourne. They’re weary but grateful for the work. There are no standard start times, no minimum shift lengths and no guarantee of future shifts. For now though, they have work.
In Elizabeth, a suburb in Adelaide’s north, a pensioner departs for the city centre by bus. The streets are patchily lit – many households have electricity cut when they can’t pay the bills. The direct bus no longer runs, so the woman has to take two buses out of her way, adding an hour to the journey.
In western NSW, a boy travels 60km each way to school in town, though not every day, because his family can’t always afford the transport. His single parent works casual shifts at the supermarket but excursions, new uniforms and a laptop are out of reach.
This is everyday Australia in 2019. I’ve met these people and hundreds more like them.