Fighting Food InsecurityMedia Release
Corangamite MP Libby Coker is praising local charities who are leading the way in ensuring families in our region are not going hungry.
Latest figures show that over one in ten residents* in Corangamite are living in poverty.
New figures from Foodbank have also revealed the demand for food relief has risen 47 per cent on average nationally through COVID-19.
Ms Coker said she intends to use Anti-Poverty Week to highlight the need for the Government to provide further assistance to those facing food insecurity.
“Data from the Victorian Council of Social Services shows over 10 per cent* of my electorate is living in poverty and the pandemic is only making the problem worse,” she said.
Almost three in ten Australians have experienced food insecurity for the first time in 2019, according to Foodbank.
Lana Purcell of Feed Me Bellarine and Surf Coast said she has witnessed first-hand just how COVID-19 deepened the issue of food insecurity in our region.
“The environment changed for so many people. For many, they have never had to experience this life before and asking for help was very foreign for a lot of people,” Ms Purcell said.
“I’ve tried to create an environment where people can reach out anonymously and for it to be a positive and safe space for everyone.”
Ms Purcell said numbers, which were already high before the pandemic, have now reached new levels with the organisation now delivering over 4,100 meals per week.
“The numbers were high even initially pre-pandemic because we did create that secure and safe place for people to access help,” she said.
“Now, with the ramifications of the changes to both JobKeeper and JobSeeker, our numbers are rising again.”
Ms Purcell said she had also experienced and increase in people contacting the service with mental health issues, and from those trapped within domestic violence situations.
“When someone is looking to escape that situation, food support is generally the first thing they need. We are often the first line of support for people when they leave,” she said.
The Federal MP said she was concerned the Government’s planned cut to the JobSeeker rate in December will only exacerbate the situation.
“From December 2019 to August 2020, there was a 261 per cent rise in the number of people in Corangamite on JobSeeker,” Ms Coker said.
“It’s an alarming increase and I hold serious concerns for what will happen when the Government returns the payment back to $40 a day.”
“So many are already going without essential services to get by. We can’t take away the ability for many to buy food as well.”Share Tweet