Australia’s largest food relief organisation, Foodbank, has called on all sides of politics to ensure vulnerable families – especially those struggling to put food on their tables – are not forgotten in the lead-up to the federal election and beyond.
“This election presents an opportunity for our political leaders to acknowledge that Australia has a hunger problem, and commit to a long-term plan to do something meaningful about it,” Foodbank Australia CEO, Brianna Casey said today.
Foodbank currently provides food relief to more than 710,000 Australians each month, a quarter of whom are under the age of 19. The organisation’s latest research reveals that a startling 4 million Australians experienced food insecurity last year.
“While the circumstances that led them to their situations might be markedly different, what unites food insecure Australians is an overwhelming sense of helplessness” Casey said. “This election presents an opportunity for our political leaders to deliver hope to hungry Australians by uniting on an enduring policy legacy that will benefit generations to come”.
Foodbank has warned that current duelling over tax breaks could distract from the very real problem facing so many Australians right now – uncertainty over where their next meal is coming from and the stigma and shame experienced when sending their children off to school with an empty lunchbox.
“The time has come to stop the short-term, band-aid solutions to hunger in Australia and deliver the country’s first ever National Food Security Strategy,” Ms Casey said. “We want 2019 to be the year we turn a corner as a nation and deliver outcomes capable of ensuring all Australians can live with dignity and have access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food.”
“There is not an electorate in this country that is not touched by food insecurity. It affects families, students, the elderly and people with disabilities. Almost half are employed and, most heartbreaking of all, 22% are children. In fact, children are more likely to be food insecure than adults in Australia today,” she explained.
“There is currently no cohesive federal policy platform or meaningful long-term funding underpinning the goal of individual food security in Australia,” Ms Casey went on to say. “In the absence of government action, we have started the process and call on an election commitment to develop a long-term policy that will ensure zero hunger by 2030.”