On 26 October 2022, the House Standing Committee on Agriculture commenced an inquiry into food security in Australia.
The Committee invited interested persons and organisations to make a submission addressing the terms of reference by Friday, 9 December 2022.
Sustain made a submission to this inquiry; if you would like to read it, we have made it avaiable as a PDF for you to download.
High-level recommendations for governance and monitoring of food security in Australia
1. That the Australian Government, in collaboration with key stakeholders (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, culturally and linguistically diverse groups, civil society, health, environment, research, non-industrial food producers, social and community services), drawing on international examples and informed by a scientific evidence base, develops a comprehensive Food Systems and Food Security Plan with clear objectives and measurable targets, indicating the responsibilities of the different levels of government.
2. That the Australian Government establishes a Food Systems and Food Security Council responsible for implementing and reporting on the Australian Food System and Food Security Plan/Strategy, and acting as a single coordinating body to address issues in the Australian Food System. This Council should include representation from across all government departments as well as the stakeholder groups listed above. To facilitate communication and coordination of efforts
3. That the Australian Government creates an ongoing dedicated Food Security and Food Systems Fund to support activities across diverse sectors conducted by all levels of government, non-government organisations and civil society.
4. That the Australian Government urgently increases current levels of welfare benefit payments to ensure adequate income and food security for the millions of Australians who are presently food insecure.
5. There is no standard or consistent way to measure food insecurity in Australia. The government should include a more comprehensive set of questions to be asked in national surveys. To understand the true prevalence and severity of food insecurity in Australia, by using the 18-item Household Food Security Survey (HFSS) module. This survey could be conducted by the Australian Burau of Statistics (ABS) on a regular basis.
Recommendation about public sector and business procurement to enhance values-driven supply chains
[The following recommendation draws on the results of Churchill Fellow Leah Galvin’s report, To explore business and government approaches that have increased local food procurement]
That the Australian Government invest in the development of a farm to institution program to facilitate sustainable food procurement by institutions through partnerships and engagement with industry, governments at all levels, community, and philanthropy.
The initial priorities are as follows:
· Map the initial opportunity and existing food and social procurement systems by state and territory across Australia
· With cross sectoral governance lead, coordinate and facilitate long term action with stakeholders from the farm to institution (growers, producers, wholesalers, distributors, food service; inclusive of small and medium scale enterprises) and allies who are already acting and making a valued contribution in the sustainable food and food security space
· Deliver regional demonstration projects which target economic, social, environmental and health outcomes that support our ongoing food security.
The Australian Government encouraging and/or requiring sustainable food procurement by institutions and facilitating its implementation is consistent with the Department of Agriculture Sustainable Procurement Policy and strongly aligns with Commonwealth Procurement Rules creating community value, addressing climate change and including small and medium enterprises in the procurement systems.
Download Sustain's submission to National Inquiry into Food Security (9th December 2022 - PDF)