Leading food rescue organisation OzHarvest has joined forces with other charities including Beehive Industries, Foodbank, Youth off the Streets, Father Bob Maguire and the ASRC calling on the Government not to overlook the charity sector in their latest round of economic stimulus discussions – particularly ones that are at risk of collapsing under the pressures of the current COVID-19 crisis.
The proposal sent yesterday to the Federal Government highlights the implications to the welfare of millions of vulnerable Australians if urgent funding support is not given to the charity sector providing vital services.
OzHarvest Founder and CEO, Ronni Kahn AO said the current Economic Stimulus Package shows no financial support or assistance to the charity sector – even though it employs over 1.3 million Australians, contributing to $150 billion to the economy and employs 10% of the Australian workforce.
“Ironically, organisations like ours are the ones that hold up community spirit, provide critical food relief, mental health, wellbeing and disability support services and offers people dignity and respect in times of crisis. With the current situation unfolding globally, millions of jobs are potentially at risk and vital services are in desperate need of funding to be able to continue supporting vulnerable communities.”
“We can stop events. We can stop sporting matches. We can close schools. We can make changes in the way businesses operate. But we cannot stop feeding people. The knock-on effect of not being able to deliver food is huge,” said Ronni.
There are already over five million people experiencing food insecurity and this figure is constantly rising, with new families from drought and fire-affected communities and now those affected by COVID-19, food relief is needed now more than ever. The greatest area in need of Government support is the sector dealing directly with providing critical health services, mental health support, social and emergency services including food relief.
The proposal was sent to the Federal Government yesterday afternoon as a matter of urgency to address the needs of the forgotten sector. It was supported by charities Foodbank, Youth off the Streets, Asylum Seekers Resources Centre, Beehive Industries and Father Bob Maguire Foundation and echoes the sentiments made by ACOSS who are also calling for a stimulus package for the community sector.