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This practice paper and its companion practice guide describe the prevalence, experience and impact of food insecurity in Australia, identifying the populations most at risk and exploring various responses. Large-scale, structural solutions are required to address the underlying causes of food insecurity; however, smaller-scale service and practice responses are likely to always be required. Child and family welfare service practitioners play an active role in identifying and providing practical assistance to clients experiencing food insecurity and linking them with further supports.

Key messages:

  • In Australia, food security is not measured at a population level regularly or consistently. However, estimates suggest that between 4% and 13% of the general population are food insecure; and 22% to 32% of the Indigenous population, depending on location.
  • Some Australians may be more vulnerable to food insecurity, including: low-income earners, people who are socially or geographically isolated, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, culturally and linguistically diverse groups, single-parent households, older people and people experiencing homelessness
  • The primary reason for food insecurity is material hardship and inadequate financial resources. People can also experience food insecurity due to: difficulty accessing affordable healthy food (e.g. financially or geographically), or limited food and nutrition literacy (e.g. knowing how to purchase and prepare ingredients to make a healthy meal).
  • The strategies required to address food insecurity for all Australians are many and varied. These include policy interventions; local level collaborations; emergency food relief initiatives; school-based programs and education.
Publication Details
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CFCA Paper No.55