A new report from Foodbank reveals that four million Australians have experienced food insecurity in the past 12 months.
Now in its sixth year, the ‘Foodbank Hunger Report’ surveys charities and food-relief recipients nationwide. It does this to determine who accesses assistance, why, and what kind of assistance they need.
According to Foodbank, the 2018 report exposes a growing problem in country areas. There, during the past 12 months, 1.5 million Australians have experienced the uncertainty of not knowing where their next meal will come from. People in regional and remote areas are 33 per cent more likely to experience food insecurity than people in cities.
‘An urgent issue’
“Tackling the big problem of hunger in the country is an urgent issue we can’t ignore,” Foodbank Australia CEO Brianna Casey said.
“The startling finding of the report begs the question how much worse the current drought in the eastern states will make the situation, particularly given that the report also shows that vulnerable families in the country find it harder to access food and are more likely to feel embarrassed and unable to talk to friends and family about their situation than their metro counterparts.”
Further commenting on the report’s findings, Ms Casey notes that, despite Foodbank providing food for over 183,000 meals a day, only 36 per cent of charities believe they are currently meeting the full needs of the people they assist. This is the case even though only 52 per cent of those experiencing food insecurity seek assistance from a charity.
“How many Australians need to be going hungry before we see government action?” Ms Casey asked.
“We need a bipartisan, whole-of-government plan to tackle this crisis. With a federal election just around the corner, our political leaders have an ideal opportunity to commit to introducing a food security strategy. They can ensure there are big solutions to what is clearly a big problem for our nation.”