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Food out of reach for families as poverty levels increase

The Australian Greens said today that a National Anti-Poverty Strategy must be developed to address the growing number of Australians going hungry as demand for food relief outstrips supply.

"Today is World Food Day, and Foodbank's End Hunger in Australia Report for 2013 shows 65,000 people are being turned away from charities each month because there isn't enough food," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on families and community services said today.

"One in three of those people who cannot be helped are children. This is a heartbreaking statistic and is something that shouldn't be happening in a wealthy nation like Australia.

"Low income families, single parent families and unemployed households are at significant risk of going hungry, and I have no doubt that Labor's cuts to single parent payments have made things worse in the last year.

"Skipping meals and inadequate nutrition can seriously affect your health. Parents will find it harder to work and raise their families. When kids go to school hungry, they find it harder to concentrate and get the education they need.

"The Federal Government cannot ignore the reality that Australian families are unable to afford even the most basic items, such as food.

"A National Anti-Poverty Strategy is essential for guiding a coordinated effort in addressing the wide variety of factors that contribute to poverty in Australia. The Greens support the development of a Strategy that establishes a collaborative approach between all levels of government and the community sector.

"Unless action is taken, the increasing level of poverty in Australia will put an even heavier burden on the community sector. Already, 80% of agencies have told Foodbank they did not have enough food to meet demand. This pressure will only increase unless a strong, Anti-Poverty Strategy is implemented," Senator Siewert concluded.


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