*Speech delivered on 29th March 2022
As interest rates soar, families are struggling to put food on the table.
Just about every person who has stopped me on the streets in Launnie has mentioned how tough things are at the moment.
One in two Tasmanians are facing food insecurity right now.
One in five Tasmanians are regularly skipping meals and going hungry.
And it’s only getting worse.
Last week I visited Loaves and Fishes in Devonport. They’re a food bank who feed 17,000 Tasmanians every single week.
They give food to public schools so kids can have a hot, healthy meal.
They give food to the Neighbourhood Houses all over the state.
They provide food to homeless shelters.
Loaves and Fishes help a lot of people across Tasmania. But they’re feeling the cost of living pressures as much as anybody else.
Their electricity prices are through the roof. That means less money for food.
The cost of fuel for food delivery just keeps going up. That means less money for food.
The cost of each meal they make has skyrocketed, from 80 cents per meal to $4 per meal.
This means they’re not getting as many meals out the door.
And as the number of meals they make decreases, the demand for them only increases. They’re feeding more people with less money.
I’d like to see the Tasmanian and Federal Governments do more to support food banks like Loaves & Fishes.
The work they do is so important, and in the current housing crisis, we need them more than ever.
We could also be doing a lot more to minimise food wastage.
If charities, schools and Governments work together alongside supermarkets, farmers and restaurants, I think we’d be amazed at what we can do.
We need to hit the ground running to make sure support gets to where it’s needed most.
I don’t want to see anyone left without a meal because food bank resources are stretched too thin.
If we’re not helping people, what are we here for?