Foodbank's Funding Reinstatement Is a True Testament to the Power of United Australians
The Morrison Government has reversed a funding cut to Australia’s hunger-relief charity Foodbank, after backlash erupted from the National Farmers’ Federation, the opposition, and hundreds of thousands of disgruntled Australians.
Despite initially deciding on Monday to redistribute the relief budget, and, in turn, slash funding of more than $250,000 from the charity, Morrison has now announced he will lift overall relief funding to ensure Foodbank can continue to feed an estimated 710,000 people in need per month.
"I have listened and decided to increase the Food Relief Budget by $1.5 million over the next 4.5 years," Morrison wrote on Twitter, before clarifying the boost would bring the total Food Relief Budget to $6 million. "This maintains Foodbank's funding at $750,000 per year, with SecondBite and OzHarvest funded as announced last week.”
[1/3] Yesterday I promised to review the Foodbank decision. I have listened and decided to increase the Food Relief budget by $1.5 million over the next 4.5 years and have asked the Minister to place more focus on relief in drought affected areas.— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) November 12, 2018
As requested by Morrison, Social Services Minister Paul Fletcher will ensure all hunger-relief charities use the additional funding to support and deliver food to those in drought-stricken communities.
To ensure the funding is distributed fairly, Fletcher has invited representatives from Foodbank, OzHarvest, and SecondBite to a roundtable meeting to ”finalise the arrangements and co-ordinate a continuing collaborative approach to food relief.” In doing so, Fletcher hopes the “extra funding will enable a stronger focus on drought relief while continuing existing service levels around Australia.”
Monday’s initial funding cut announcement spurred the creation of an online petition that demanded the funds be reinstated immediately. Within two hours, the petition had garnered 20,000 signatures, including the likes of rock singer Jimmy Barnes and backbench politicians. Many who signed the petition claimed the government's decision to announce a funding cut just six weeks before Christmas and just before a state and federal election was deranged.
Foodbank is Australia’s most comprehensive food supplier for school breakfast programs in low-income communities. In the last month, the organisation has also supplied over 10,000 food hampers to individuals and families living through Australia’s unrelenting and worsening drought.
Foodbank CEO Brianna Casey announced the funding reinstatement was a “massive relief.”
"We would like to thank everyone for the overwhelming support we received over the past 24 hours," she stated. “This funding will allow the Foodbank Key Staples Program to continue to deliver more than $8 million worth of essential food to vulnerable Australians. The demand for food relief in this country right now is skyrocketing.”