Struggle Street to return to SBS for third season on October 9

SBS’ controversial documentary series Struggle Street is set to return for a third season, this time focusing on rural and regional Australia, particularly the Riverina area.

The show, which has copped criticism in the past for selective editing and exploitation of the families involved, will feature four episodes, beginning Wednesday October 9 at 8:30pm.

Struggle Street is heading to the Riverina for its third season

Season one aired in 2015 with three episodes, focused on western Sydney’s Mount Druitt. It did well in the ratings, with the overnight figures showing 935,000 viewers for the first episode, propelling it above Seven’s House Rules and Nine’s Reno Rumble.

However, the controversy which boosted season one failed to deliver the same outcomes for season two, which featured Queensland’s Inala and Victoria’s Broadmeadows and Seddon, with its six episodes averaging between 250,000 and 300,000 viewers.

This time, the show is going rural, heading to New South Wales’ Riverina region where it will focus on the struggles of smaller communities during the current drought, unemployment, access to healthcare, homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse, and the struggles of those with mental ill-health and physical disabilities.

SBS television and online content director Marshall Heald said this would be a landmark series.

“The third season of Struggle Street will build on the landmark series by shining a light on the people and communities experiencing poverty and social disadvantage outside our cities, and contribute to a better understanding of the many issues they face. They are stories about contemporary Australia that deserve sharing – and stories that are sadly too often ignored,” said Heald.

“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.”

As part of the production, SBS is working with a number of organisations to improve the impact of Struggle Street within the community. In partnership with the University of Sydney’s Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use, Social Policy Research Centre and Charles Sturt University, SBS is creating the second iteration of its ‘The Truth About…’ video series.

The videos will address common myths around poverty and contributing factors in Australia, with expert interviews, frontline workers and those with lived experiences. ‘The Truth About…’ series first launched during the second series of Struggle Street as online videos, extending to educational impact videos which ran in GP clinics across Australia.

David Galloway, director of programmes at 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. In the third season of Struggle Street, we focus on Australia’s often-invisible battlers.

“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. The series also feature stories of those who struggle with the lack of health-care services, and others dealing with the effects of crime and drug use in their local 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.”


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