Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters MP, has called on Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie who is in Bendigo TODAY for a rare visit to meet with Bendigo Foodshare.
Senator Bridget McKenzie is a senior member of the Turnbull Government leadership team. She is a Cabinet Minister and the Minister for Rural Health.
“Food security is a leading factor in the health and wellbeing of regional Australians and as the Rural Health Minister, Ms McKenzie is in a position to do something about this crisis,” said Ms Chesters.
Ms Chesters has made an urgent appeal to Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison and the Federal Government to urgently fund transportation of food from Foodbank Victoria based in Melbourne to Central Victoria.
“Emergency food relief across Bendigo and Central Victoria has halved due to transport-related costs and the Federal Government should help.
“Around 40 per cent of Bendigo Foodshare’s stock comes from Melbourne and this cut off is only making the divide between metropolitan and regional cities worse.
“The Federal Government provided funding for emergency relief distribution but not for transport related costs. Funding should be included in the 2018-19 Federal Budget to help fund the transportation of goods from Food Bank Victoria warehouses in Melbourne.
“Many people across Central Victoria are doing it tough – many people live on fixed incomes, wages aren’t keeping pace with the cost of living. Across Central Victoria, hidden poverty and food insecurity is growing.
“The Bendigo electorate is home to some of the lowest socio-economic suburbs in the country and when emergency relief is cut off, these families starve,” said Ms Chesters.
A recent damning report released by Foodbank Australia found that 25 per cent of children who live outside capital cities have experienced food insecurity and hunger in the past 12 months.
“I call on the Senator to meet with Bendigo Foodshare whilst she is in Bendigo TODAY. The Federal Liberal National Government needs to listen and immediately increase funding for Bendigo Foodshare to be able to transport food weekly from Melbourne,’ said Ms Chesters.