Food Relief sector calls for urgent action on funding
Wednesday 24 January, 2024
Ahead of the Prime Minister’s caucus meeting on the cost-of-living crisis, Australia’s food relief sector has called for an urgent and dramatic increase in Federal funding to help respond to unprecedented levels of demand for food relief.
The Foodbank Hunger Report 2023 highlighted that the cost of living is crippling households across the country and there is compelling evidence that the situation has deteriorated in recent months. Despite this, base funding for Foodbank Australia, SecondBite and OzHarvest remains at an embarrassingly low $1.3m per year – combined.
Brianna Casey, CEO of Foodbank Australia, says,
“The Prime Minister is committed to introducing cost of living relief. One of the most obvious solutions that would provide immediate relief to those already struggling would be to bolster support for the food relief sector. This would be a targeted and sensible investment capable of ensuring fresh fruit and vegetables, protein and pantry staples are available to community members most affected by the current crisis.”
Daniel Moorfield, CEO of SecondBite echoed this saying:
“While we are dealing with a cost-of-living crisis that knows no bounds, we’re also preparing for and responding to flash flooding, yet another cyclone record temperatures sweeping in from the west. There is only so much we can do without more meaningful support from the Federal Government.”
According to Ronni Kahn AO, CEO and Founder of OzHarvest:
“Despite more people than ever before needing food relief due to the unrelenting strain on household budgets, the level of funding for the national food relief sector remains woefully inadequate. We are seeing unprecedented demand with long queues every day at our free supermarket, and many of the charities we support say they could take double the amount of food. Government action is long overdue.”
Through its pre-budget submission, the food relief sector has made the case for $50m per annum to be provided to the three organisations to help meet community need for food relief. This comprises $10m for additional capacity, $20m from each round of the Disaster Ready Fund and $20m for emergency food relief following a crisis or natural disaster.