The Big Issue provides a mechanism to assist homeless, ex-homeless and long-term unemployed people to participate in society as independently as possible, its primary objective being to help people help themselves.

Vendors from all over Australia have sold The Big Issue since it was launched on the continent in 1996. The idea of creating a magazine that was strong, independent and entertaining, and at the same time provided – through sales – an opportunity for the homeless and unemployed to earn an income, comes from London, where The Big Issue was set up in 1991. The Big Issue in England – which sells some 300,000 copies a week – is widely considered to be one of the great publishing success stories of recent times.

Since 1996, The Big Issue vendors have sold more than 2.5 million magazines, generating more than $3 million for Australia’s homeless and unemployed. Around 1,700 homeless and marginalised people across Australia have been recruited, trained and supported by The Big Issue.

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