A report released today by Australia’s largest food relief organisation, Foodbank, reveals that an alarming 4 million Australians have experienced food insecurity in the past 12 months.

The report exposes a growing problem in country areas where, during the past 12 months, 1.5 million Australians have experienced the uncertainty of not knowing where their next meal will come from. This means people in regional and remote areas are 33% more likely to experience food insecurity than their city cousins.

The Foodbank Hunger Report 2018, now in its sixth year, surveys charities and food relief recipients nationwide to determine who accesses assistance, why and how they can be better helped.

“Tackling the big problem of hunger in the country is an urgent issue that can’t be ignored. The startling finding of the report begs the question how much worse the current drought in the eastern states will make the situation, particularly given that the report also shows that vulnerable families in the country find it harder to access food and are more likely to feel embarrassed and unable to talk to friends and family about their situation than their metro counterparts.”

Further commenting on the report’s findings, Casey noted that, despite Foodbank providing food for over 183,000 meals a day, only 36% of charities believe they are currently meeting the full needs of the people they assist. This is even when only half (52%) of those experiencing food insecurity seek assistance from a charity.

“How many Australians need to be going hungry before we see government action?” Casey asked. “{We need a bi-partisan, whole-of-government plan to tackle this crisis. With a Federal election just around the corner, our political leaders have an ideal opportunity to commit to introducing a Food Security Strategy to ensure there are big solutions to what is clearly a big problem for our nation,” she concluded.

Access the full report via the Foodbank Australia website.