Senate debates

Thursday, 5 December 2019


Tasmania: Emergency Food Relief

12:29 pm

Photo of Carol BrownCarol Brown (Tasmania, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Tourism) Share this | | Hansard source

Senators Bilyk, Lambie, Polley and Urquhart will be joining me in this motion. I, and also on behalf of Senators Bilyk, Lambie, Polley and Urquhart, move:

That the Senate—

(a) recognises that a Tasmanian organisation, Loaves & Fishes, provides around 70% of emergency food relief in Tasmania, servicing over 200 community food programs and 38 school breakfast clubs;

(b) acknowledges that Loaves & Fishes applied for but were excluded from receiving emergency food relief funding from the Commonwealth Government on the basis they are a local Tasmanian organisation;

(c) recognises that Tasmania is the only State in the Commonwealth that does not have on-the-ground operations from all three emergency food relief providers that receive funding support from the Department of Social Services;

(d) notes that, without Commonwealth Government funding of $150,000 a year, Loaves & Fishes will have to close their Hobart operation which supports 134 community food programs in the region, and since July 2018, has distributed more than 300,000 kilograms of fresh produce and produced over 55,000 ready to eat meals;

(e) calls on the Federal Government to ensure that vulnerable Tasmanians and Tasmanian emergency food relief providers are not overlooked for Federal Government support; and

(f) requests that the Federal Government act swiftly to resolve this matter, and that funding to support Tasmanians in need flow immediately.

12:30 pm

Photo of Jonathon DuniamJonathon Duniam (Tasmania, Liberal Party, Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries) Share this | | Hansard source

I seek leave to make a short statement.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

Leave is granted for one minute.

Photo of Jonathon DuniamJonathon Duniam (Tasmania, Liberal Party, Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries) Share this | | Hansard source

We cannot support this motion, because it's factually incorrect. Loaves and Fishes Tasmania has not applied for Commonwealth funding to deliver emergency food relief, including in the last two open and competitive grants processes in 2018 and 2016. Organisations are encouraged to apply in a competitive grants process to test their delivery model. The government is investing $6 million over 4½ years in food relief nationally and over $10 million in services to deliver emergency relief in Tasmania. This includes an additional $3.4 million in funding in recognition of the fact that Tasmania is experiencing increased levels of disadvantage. I table correspondence from the minister to Loaves and Fishes.

Question agreed to.