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Hunger on rise amid fears of Centrelink cuts

National

Australians who were struggling to get enough food before COVID-19 are now going hungry more often, with a charity reporting a rise in the number of people reporting going a day a week without eating.

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A special COVID-19 report from Foodbank – the leading provider of food and groceries to Australian charities – has found the number of people seeking help from charities at least once has doubled.

The Foodbank Hunger Report brings together research between April and August and found three in 10 Australians now experiencing food insecurity had not gone hungry before the pandemic.

Almost 35 per cent of food-insecure Australians don’t know how they will cope when the COVID-19 supports such as JobSeeker and JobKeeper are withdrawn.

Foodbank Australia CEO, Brianna Casey, said the report, released on Monday, emphasises that COVID-19 is having a profound effect on the food security of Australians.

“The report highlights that, while need for food relief has become somewhat erratic and unpredictable, charities are reporting that overall demand is up by 47 per cent and many of those now experiencing food insecurity (28 per cent) have never before needed support,” Casey said.

The report found two new groups needing urgent help have emerged – casual workers and international students.

“These individuals tend to be younger, so it’s not surprising our report shows it’s Australia’s youth who are bearing the brunt of COVID-19.

“They are going without food more often than any other age group with 65 per cent of food insecure Gen Z (aged 18-25) going hungry at least once a week compared to 25 per cent of food insecure Baby Boomers (56-74) and 25 per cent of builders (75+),” Ms Casey said.

Information for the report was sourced from leading charities and interviews with more than 1000 people experiencing food insecurity.

Foodbank partners with the food and grocery sector to supply charities nationally with the stocks they need to help the hungry and deprived.

-AAP

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