A shocking 3.6 million Australians, or 15% of the population, have experienced uncertainty around where their next meal is coming from in the last 12 months, a new report from Foodbank Australia has revealed.
This morning Australia’s largest hunger relief organisation, Foodbank, released its annual Foodbank Hunger Report which highlighted that it’s not just the unemployed and homeless who are experiencing food insecurity. Almost 50% of those struggling to feed themselves and their families are actually employed.
The report also highlights that young Australians are not immune from food insecurity. While Generation Y and Z (7-37 year olds) only make up only 28% of Australia’s population, when it comes to food insecurity, they are heavily overrepresented (38%).
Now in its fifth year, the report surveys charity agencies and recipients of assistance, exposing “bill shock” as a major factor driving the growing need for food relief in Australia.
Foodbank Australia’s CEO, Brianna Casey, said, “The report exposes how increasing numbers of people are falling into food insecurity simply due to the rising cost of life’s basics – like rent and power bills. Financial pressures create difficult choices, such as choosing between heating and eating. Two in five food insecure Australians (41%) have not paid bills in order to have enough money to buy food.”
Foodbank provides food for over 652,000 people a month, however, the front-line charities report that demand for food relief has increased by 10% in the last year and they are forced to turn away 65,000 people every month due to lack of food.
“It’s hard to believe that we’re experiencing a hunger crisis in the ‘lucky country’, but our report provides a dose of reality on just how prevalent food insecurity is in our own backyard. The fact that demand for food relief is increasing and our youth are particularly vulnerable, is simply not acceptable,” said Casey.
“These distressing results from the Foodbank Hunger Report 2017 highlight the necessity for Australia to seriously lift its game if it’s to come close to meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goal of ending hunger by 2030,” Casey concluded.
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