More than one-third of Australians experienced “moderate” to “severe” food insecurity in the last twelve months, according to a new study.
The 2023 Foodbank Hunger report reveals that 3.7 million households, an increase of more than 380,000 households from last year, struggle to consistently access adequate food.
Nearly 1.5 million households were categorised as moderately food insecure, meaning that they felt anxious about food or have compromised their meals. The other 2.3 million reported being severely food insecure, meaning that they have skipped meals or have gone days without eating.
Seventy-seven percent of people who experienced food insecurity did so for the first time, with unprecedented attacks on working-class living standards adding pressure to existing struggles.
The report found that, among those facing food insecurity, the increased cost of living was the key contributor. This included rising prices for food and groceries, followed by energy costs, increased rents and higher mortgage repayments. The people bearing the brunt of the crisis are increasingly younger, 81 percent of people who experienced food insecurity being under the age of 45.
More than half of all renters can’t afford to eat balanced meals. More than 80 percent of people impacted are employed, highlighting that having a job does not insulate people from hunger.
“I went hungry, which caused an insulin overdose, and had to be rushed to hospital. Luckily, I was able to get some food in the hospital”, related a young renter in Sydney.
Meanwhile, it was revealed last week that Defence Minister Richard Marles charged taxpayers for a $115 breakfast while in the United States recently, including $34 for two eggs and $20.44 for an orange juice.
It speaks volumes about the priorities of the federal Labor government.