LINDA BURNEY MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FAMILIES AND SOCIAL SERVICES
MEMBER FOR BARTON
ANDREW LEIGH MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR CHARITIES
MEMBER FOR FENNER
FOOD RELIEF SERVICES GET FOOD TO THE MOST VULNERABLE NOW THEY’RE AT TIPPING POINT
Food banks and emergency relief services are at tipping point as the COVID-19 challenge depletes food supplies and squeezes supply chains.
Food banks provide a vital service in our community by saving excess food and getting it to vulnerable Australians.
Food is donated by supermarkets, wholesalers, manufacturers, farmers and restaurants among other businesses. Food banks only get limited government funding to purchase some staples.
Normally transport companies are able to deliver these donations through backloading or using spare space.
In recent weeks however, panic buying at supermarkets has severely depleted supplies of excess food.
This surge in demand also means transport companies are running at capacity and don’t have space to donate.
With further economic uncertainty moving forward, this means the thousands of Australians may need to rely on emergency relief for the first time.
Food banks are already seeing a surge in demand, in part caused by affordable food selling at at stores - and are being forced to ration and limit what is available.
No one should be turned away from help when they need it.
Labor is calling on the government to step in – with two vital but reasonable measures:
- Provide the additional funding necessary to fill gaps in supply for food relief services; and
- Prioritise a place for food relief in supply chains to get the food to where it needs to go.
“Along with healthcare and the economy, food security represents a major, and very visible and immediate component of the COVID-19 challenge”, said Linda Burney, Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services.
“We need to see the same level of commitment to food security in this crisis, that we do for healthcare and the economy.”
“Food relief services provide a vital service at the best of times, and Australians are only going to become more appreciative of the job they do in the coming weeks and months”, said Andrew Leigh, Shadow Assistant Minister for Charities.
“The government needs to back them in now to cope with this challenge that will last into the foreseeable future.”
Labor has also called on the Government to ensure food supply for remote communities and small towns, who are most vulnerable to supply chain issues.
Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra.