Western Australia’s Food Relief Leadership Roundtable was held today to help deliver a co-ordinated and collaborative approach to managing food insecurity and better nutrition outcomes for vulnerable Western Australians.
Premier Mark McGowan and Community Services Minister Simone McGurk joined the Western Australian Council of Social Service and representatives from the community services, food relief, government and commercial sectors at the roundtable in West Perth.
Food insecurity arises from not having reliable access to sufficient affordable, nutritious food. According to the 2018 Foodbank Australia Hunger Report, more than four million Australians had experienced food insecurity at least once during the preceding 12 months.
The Food Relief WA Leadership Roundtable was established in response to the recommendations of the WA Food Relief Framework report, which was launched by Ms McGurk in October 2019.
The report found that charitable food services in WA had all recorded increases in the demand for food relief, with more than 508,000 meals provided each month.
The report also noted that the food relief sector continues to face challenges in meeting demand, despite excess food waste in many parts of the State.
The roundtable was a forum to discuss ways to ensure the sector is properly resourced to respond adequately to the increased complexity facing people experiencing food insecurity.
The roundtable provided an opportunity to connect services and resources more cohesively to reduce service isolation and provide better outcomes for the community.
As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:
“It takes a co-ordinated and collaborative approach to manage food insecurity and provide better nutrition outcomes for vulnerable Western Australians.
“The State Government continues to invest heavily in universal services that support vulnerable people and prevent them from falling into poverty, including financial counselling, parent education and family support, short-term housing and domestic violence services.
“The roundtable enables us to facilitate the connection of services and resources more cohesively, reduce service isolation and deliver better outcomes for the community.
“I would like to see Western Australia as a national leader when it comes to reducing food insecurity.”
As stated by Community Services Minister Simone McGurk:
“I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the work on the Food Relief Framework, which brings us closer to meeting the challenges of food security in our State and developing long-term solutions to this problem.
“There are plenty of services doing great work and industry is ready to step up, so I hope this roundtable will be a vehicle for change and connect them and their resources to support vulnerable people more effectively.
“Charities are doing great work to assist vulnerable people, but a co-ordinated and collaborative whole-of-community approach is required to provide food relief across a State as large as Western Australia.
“Working together to overcome the logistical challenges will ensure people in need are linked to the available food and services.”