As the ACT government demands answers about why the Canberra Institute of Technology has awarded more than $8.5 million worth of contracts to a "complexity and systems thinker", those desperate for a dollar should not be forgotten by our elected officials.
The working poor are increasingly seeking help in order to simply stay afloat, the Sunday Canberra Times reveals today, joining those on government benefits at food banks and the like in growing numbers.
The quiet pain experienced by Canberrans like Paul Oran, currently out of work and sleeping on the floor in the loungeroom at his home so his partner and children can occupy the two bedrooms, is a crisis worthy of immediate attention.
Others struggling to get by in one of Australia's most affluent cities include Rob Smith, who has resorted to couch-surfing and living with a friend after the COVID-19 pandemic cost him his job stacking shelves.
People like Mr Smith and Mr Oran, the latter of whom is hoping to land a job in security, do not choose to be unemployed.
And it must, of course, be noted governments at different levels have responded to the pandemic with programs like JobKeeper to help businesses retain staff while battling against lockdowns and other restrictions.
Such impositions on life are now largely gone, but the stories of people like those detailed today make it clear this is not the time to lose sight of those struggling to afford food, petrol and other basic necessities.
Salvation Army team leader Mitchell Stevens makes a sobering statement when he says the charitable organisation is seeing an increasing number of people accessing its services for the first time in Braddon.
Many of these, fellow team leader Sally Stevens points out, are families.
These are no doubt people who could only dream of the millions of dollars the CIT has given Patrick Hollingworth for reasons that have mystified ACT Skills Minister Chris Steel, who has admitted he cannot work out what the consultant is being paid to do.
The institute's spending is certainly worthy of government investigation, but those in public office should not allow the ongoing headlines about that issue to become an excuse to ignore the hardship experienced by those doing it tough.
Big businesses like Woolworths, where Mr Smith worked prior to the pandemic, must also play their part.
Now the economy is in better shape than it was at the peak of the pandemic, they should look at bringing back jobs that were axed because of the impact of COVID-19.
Whatever the solution may be, the quiet pain becoming increasingly common in a city home to so many privileged people must not be allowed to get worse.
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