Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Rescuing food for people in need

The Australian Government today welcomed Woolworths’ commitment to provide two million meals and $2 million of grants to food rescue organisations to get surplus food to Australians who need it most.

Across Australia, families, retailers, restaurants and businesses throw out millions of tonnes of food, much of which could be rescued and turned into nutritious, healthy meals.

Every Australian deserves access to food and the need for free and affordable meals is growing, with more people knocking on the doors of community organisations than ever before. Around 2 million Australians access food relief services each year.

The Australian Government has doubled emergency relief funding to help Australians under pressure as a result of the global financial recession, bringing total funding to over $120 million over two years. This funding is distributed through 750 community organisations working in around 1300 locations across Australia and will help around 1 million Australians each year.

The Australian Government is also providing Foodbank with $2 million over two years to help provide a more consistent, cost effective supply of staple foods such as pasta and pasta sauce, milk, breakfast cereal and canned foods.

Collaborations between governments, business and the community sector play an important role in ensuring more food and meals are getting to the most vulnerable in our communities.

Today’s announcement is also a major boost for charities such as OzHarvest, Fare Share, Food 4 Life, SecondBite and Foodbank – organisations that turn food destined for landfill into healthy meals for people in need.

To help Woolworths meet their ambitious targets the Australian Government will use its expertise in administering grants to help them establish the $2 million grants program.

The grants will help these organisations, who rely on volunteers and only have limited resources to purchase infrastructure such as vehicles, storage and refrigeration, to make sure healthy food gets to the people who need it most.