Ballarat Foodbank Hub – Adjournment Matter
Ms ADDISON (Wendouree) (19:11): My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers. I ask the minister to provide an update on how the establishment of a Foodbank hub in Ballarat will address the issue of food insecurity in my electorate of Wendouree and the broader community.
While food security is important across all of Victoria, it is an especially pertinent concern in regional electorates like mine as regional Australians are a third more likely to experience food insecurity than residents in metropolitan areas. Indeed a report from Ballarat Community Health has found that 12 per cent of the Ballarat population experiences food insecurity, which is why I am very proud that this government is taking action and partnering with Foodbank to establish a hub in Ballarat.
Foodbank Victoria is the state’s oldest and largest food relief charity, and their work is crucial to supporting the frontline charities that are feeding vulnerable Victorians. Their new hub will be staffed by a mix of volunteers and paid employees and built on recently acquired land in the growing Ballarat West employment zone. Activity in this zone is ramping up, and I am delighted that Foodbank is joining a host of other organisations and companies which are seizing the opportunity of operating in Ballarat.
Foodbank’s multipurpose BWEZ warehouse will be the key to addressing a storage bottleneck in local supplies. It will ensure timely access to food relief for those who need it most both in Ballarat and across the wider region.
I also want to take a moment to recognise and thank the many local organisations which are collaborating through the Ballarat Food Access Network to provide essential food services in our community. These include Ballarat Community Health, Uniting Ballarat, the Ballarat Foundation, the Salvation Army, Anglicare, Central Highlands Primary Care Partnerships, the Grampians Public Health Unit, Ballarat Neighbourhood Centre and the City of Ballarat.
I look forward to the minister’s response on how Foodbank’s Ballarat hub will further support these efforts to address food insecurity.