Government responds to food security inquiry

Minister for Indigenous Australians

The Morrison Government has today tabled its response to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs’ report into food pricing and food security in remote Indigenous communities.

Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP, welcomed the report and thanked the Committee for their work.

“Improving food security and making affordable, fresh and nutritious foods more available in remote Indigenous communities is an important part of improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” Minister Wyatt said.

“This report has affirmed that food security is a long-standing and complex issue in remote and rural communities. It will take a concerted and coordinated effort across jurisdictions and private industry to improve supply chains and storage.

“I am pleased to see the Inquiry found no evidence of systemic price gouging, but we all must appreciate food and grocery prices are consistently higher on average and more can be done to lower the cost of living in remote Australia.

“Over the last year, we have already made funding available to support remote stores to start to address some of the barriers they face in accessing a continuous and sustainable supply of food and essential items.

“We are also investing in a raft of measures to improve remote infrastructure, including increasing the reliability of power, which is a major concern in a number of communities.”

The Government has supported or provided in-principle support for 10 of the 16 recommendations and notes that other recommendations will need to be market driven.

The Indigenous Affairs Taskforce of the National Federation Reform Council has agreed to develop a national strategy for priority actions, including consideration of a new national stores licencing regime.

“Through the Taskforce, we will also look to develop an Indigenous Food Security and Nutrition Strategy to further improve access and affordability of fresh, healthy food for remote communities,” Minister Wyatt said.

“We will continue to work closely with a wide range of stakeholders, including maintaining the Food Security Working Group established during the pandemic, to help ensure that wherever you live, you can get access to essential goods at a reasonable price.

“I’d like to thank the Committee for their work on this critical issue.”

The full response can be found on the Australian Parliament’s website.

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