Food relief facility for Tasmanians doing it tough

The Albanese Labor Government is delivering for Tasmanians in need of long-term food relief options through support to Loaves and Fishes to acquire a warehouse in Devonport.

The operational warehouse will provide Loaves and Fishes with permanent, long-term surety to continue to provide essential emergency and food relief support to vulnerable Tasmanians and delivers on an election commitment from the Federal Government.

Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth will today visit the warehouse in Devonport along with Tasmanian Minister for Community Services and Development Jo Palmer and Senator for Tasmania Anne Urquhart.

Minister Rishworth said that the warehouse – made possible by $1.3 million in Federal Government funding announced in July – will enable Loaves and Fishes to redistribute donated food to more than 300 school and community partners throughout Tasmania.

“The Government is proud to show its support to such an essential organisation and in turn, to Tasmanians doing it tough,” Minister Rishworth said.

“We know that many Tasmanians are struggling right now, due to natural disasters and the rising cost of living, and we hope that our support for this warehouse can extend to all aspects of the community.

“The use of this warehouse will not only help to provide certainty to the Loaves and Fishes food relief program, but will also allow them to host and partner with other community organisations to maximise food security opportunities.”

Loaves and Fishes is a faith-based organisation that collects 25,000 kilograms of donated produce from local providers each week, and redistributes it to those in need as ready-to-eat meals, school breakfast supplies, made-to-order food hampers and fresh fruit and vegetables.

The organisation also provides on-hand kitchen training and volunteering opportunities for at risk youth, people with disabilities, and unemployed people.

Tasmanian Minister for Community Services and Development Jo Palmer said the Tasmanian Government is pleased to support the contribution of Loaves and Fishes to the community.

“Loaves and Fishes is a critical partner in supporting the provision of food relief and assisting Tasmanians to become food resilient,” Minister Palmer said.

“The impact of the work done by this community organisation, which supports the provision of emergency food relief and the highly successful school lunch program, is invaluable to Tasmanians in need.” 

Senator for Tasmania Anne Urquhart said providers like Loaves and Fishes were critical for the community. 

“Providers like Loaves and Fishes are the lifeblood of our community. They play an essential role in ensuring that frontline services have access to cost-effective food supplies, ensuring that those most in need in our community are cared for,” Senator Urquhart said.

“The permanency of this warehouse also allows Loaves and Fishes to run additional training and work experience programs, increasing volunteering and employment opportunities for those who have faced long-term unemployment and those living with disability.”

The funding delivers on the Government’s Loaves and Fishes Emergency Food Distribution election commitment.

The $1.3 million in funding is in addition to the $1.2 million allocated in 2022-23 for Tasmanian Emergency Relief providers in response to the impact on demand for services due to cost of living pressures.

Further information, including how to find an Emergency Relief provider, is available on the Department of Social Services website.