Lotterywest funded the Western Australian Council of Social Service to auspice the Food Relief Framework Project in 2017. The need for a framework came from the community sector after it was recognised that improvements to the service system can be made to better respond to need.
In the absence of existing data, the food relief sector collaborated to map the issue and identify solutions to address gaps in the State’s food security system. A WA Food Relief Framework Working Group was established and extensive stakeholder and community consultation across regional and metropolitan areas was undertaken, engaging service providers, government, consumer groups, and the corporate sector. The high level findings paint a stark picture.
- Food insecurity is rarely an emergency, it is much more likely to be entrenched and periodic over a longer period, with limited pathways out.
- There are major gaps in transport logistics and infrastructure between food retail, food rescue and food relief organisations.
- Food relief is not adequate to meet the nutritional, cultural and social needs of those who experience food insecurity.
- There is a wide range of food relief models, from queuing for food in parks to more socially acceptable methods, such as supermarket shopping vouchers or eating seated meals that allow individual choice.
- Food insecurity does not exist in isolation and food relief services are not well integrated with other service areas.
- The food relief sector is under-equipped to work in this complex environment, relying mainly on a voluntary workforce, often with limited resources.
- There are no evaluation systems to map, monitor and measure the need for, or impact of, food relief services.
- Critically, there is no central location in government for oversight and coordination.
The WA Food Relief Framework is the roadmap to improved outcomes for people and families. It provides the basis for how can we work together to better assist those who experience food insecurity. The Framework also delivers a deeper understanding about why food insecurity exists in WA.
The focus on addressing food insecurity is increasing across Australia, and the WA Framework is considered to be at the forefront as it aims to develop a comprehensive response to the problem. This report is the culmination of that work, setting out pathways that provide solutions to an issue that has far reaching consequences.