Strug­gle Street back in spot­light

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Elisha Pearce

AS SBS an­nounced a se­cond sea­son of Strug­gle Street last week, the Mt Druitt com­mu­nity re­flected on the im­pact of the first air­ing which was un­pop­u­lar at the time but now thought to have reaped pos­i­tive out­comes.

The con­tro­ver­sial show, which fo­cused on the lives of peo­ple around Mt Druitt, has been com­mis­sioned for a se­cond sea­son by SBS de­spite crit­i­cism over the first sea­son.

Ivanka Pe­likan, from com­mu­nity hub Graceades Cot­tage at Bid­will, said the show sparked more do­na­tions and vol­un­teers for their pro­grams even though it didn’t por­tray the char­ac­ters in a pos­i­tive light.

Last year’s sea­son show­cased public hous­ing res­i­dents Corey Kennedy, Bob and Bil­lie Jo.

The next sea­son of the show will be ex­panded into a six-episode run and will fo­cus on dis­ad­van­taged com­mu­ni­ties in Vic­to­ria and Queens­land.

While the show wasn’t ev­ery­one’s cup of tea, Ms Pe­likan said there was some pos­i­tives.

“A lot of peo­ple who came here and do­nated their time on a work­ing bee wouldn’t have come around with­out that show,” she said.

“We have had more peo­ple vol­un­teer be­cause of the show and more do­na­tions of fur­ni­ture, food and clothes.”

Ms Pe­likan fea­tured in a few min­utes of the show, but says she’d never go fur­ther than show­ing what she does at work for tele­vi­sion.

“Two of the clients that were on the show at the cot­tage were al­ready with us; we were help­ing them al­ready,’’ she said.

“For me per­son­ally, I wouldn’t put my own story out there, but a work story is dif­fer­ent.”

Ac­cord­ing to Ms Pe­likan, tele­vi­sion could do a bet­ter job of por­tray­ing the good that is done by peo­ple in dis­ad­van­taged com­mu­ni­ties.

“There are peo­ple that have lived in this area for a long time and have done some great things,’’ she said.

“It doesn’t mat­ter where you live these days, there’s good and bad in ev­ery sub­urb.

“There are great sto­ries and peo­ple out here that have worked their hearts out – started school can­teens off and done other things.”

While Ms Pe­likan says she can’t tell oth­ers how to be­have, she did have a warn­ing for those in Vic­to­ria and Queens­land think­ing of par­tic­i­pat­ing in Strug­gle Street.

She warned par­tic­i­pants to be mind­ful of what they said in front of the cam­eras, if they didn’t want to be por­trayed in a par­tic­u­lar light.

“What you say will be tele­vised,’’ she said.

“If you want to say cer­tain things and do cer­tain things, then how do you ex­pect the whole of Aus­tralia, or world, to re­act?”

Black­town Mayor Stephen Bali called Strug­gle

Street last year “just an­other trash reality pro­gram” and asked SBS not to air the “poverty porn”.

Garbage trucks or­gan­ised by Black­town Coun­cil drove by SBS of­fices in protest.

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