Anglicare Reveals Aussie ‘Food Shock’
Tuesday, 16th October 2012 at 10:45 am
A new report reveals that 45,000 households using Anglicare services are food insecure.
New research estimates that 45,000 households using Anglicare Emergency Relief services don’t have enough money to adequately feed their families.
Anglicare Australia’s State of the Family report – When there’s not enough to eat – is based on a national study into food insecurity among people seeking Emergency Relief. It was launched in Sydney by Greens Senator Rachel Siewert.
The report says adults in 22,000 households go without food for a whole day, most weeks.
Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers,said: “We were shocked to find that 76% of households requesting Emergency Relief from us are severely food insecure."
“Adults in one third of these households went without food for a day, most weeks, over a three month period.
“Our research clearly indicates that parents try to protect their children by deliberately missing meals themselves and sometimes going without food for a whole day.
“It’s shocking that among households with children that are severely food insecure, almost one in 10 reported that children did not eat for a whole day on a regular basis.
“Anglicare considers its findings underestimate the extent of food insecurity as it only reflects people currently accessing Anglicare services. So this is just the tip of the iceberg,” Chambers said.
The report, led by Susan King from ANGLICARE Sydney, highlights the connection between food insecurity and inadequate income.
“People on income support payments like Newstart and the Disability Support Pension are at the highest risk of going without food."
“Unexpected expenses such as a high power bill, rent increase or car repairs can make people food insecure because food is often the only discretionary item in their weekly budget,” King said.
Given the emerging issue of food insecurity for children in low income households, Anglicare says it is unacceptable for the Federal Government to refuse to raise Newstart, and intend cutting the Parenting Payment after a child reaches eight years of age.
‘When there’s not enough to eat’ also looked at the social cost of food insecurity.
“Going hungry affects people’s ability to function in everyday life. They become depressed, socially isolated and experience poorer health. Adults find it harder to get work and children struggle at school,” Chambers said.
Chambers also points to a link between food insecurity and rental stress.
“Among households that are food insecure and privately renting, 94% experience rental stress. This is partly the result of an undersupply of affordable housing.”
In Anti-Poverty Week 2012 Anglicare is calling on the Federal Government to increase Newstart and restore the Parenting Payment to ensure low income households can afford fresh food.