THE boss of the Border’s food pantry for the needy has welcomed the Prime Minister reversing a funding cut, but added he “was disappointed it was even considered”.
Scott Morrison said on Tuesday he would restore money that had been lopped from Foodbank Australia’s budget as part of a tendering process which saw other suppliers have a share in federal government cash.
“I have listened and decided to increase the Food Relief budget by $1.5 million over the next 4.5 years and have asked the Minister to place more focus on relief in drought affected areas,” Mr Morrison tweeted.
“This maintains Foodbank’s funding at $750K/yr, with Second Bite and OzHarvest funded as announced last week.”
Albury Wodonga Regional FoodShare chairman Greg Hardham welcomed the government’s move to reinstate the funding which allows his organisation to receive pasta, rice and grain supplies.
“It was the only thing they could do,” Mr Hardham said.
“It was such a small amount they were holding back or redistributing.
[1/3] Yesterday I promised to review the Foodbank decision. I have listened and decided to increase the Food Relief budget by $1.5 million over the next 4.5 years and have asked the Minister to place more focus on relief in drought affected areas.— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) November 12, 2018
“We’re very pleased naturally it’s been restored, but we’re disappointed it was considered as an option.”
Mr Hardham said his organisation would not have able to tap into OzHarvest to access the staples if Foodbank Victoria cuts were applied from January 1.
He said OzHarvest did not operate “in this part of the world” and had a different administrative model which made a deal difficult.
Meanwhile, Mr Hardham has welcomed Albury Council adopting a motion to continue lobbying the NSW government for funding to ensure FoodShare can survive.
“We’re heartened by the strong level of support there is in the council and that there is for FoodShare from all the councillors,” he said.
“The long term solution will be in our best interests.”
The Riverina and Murray Joint Organisation of councils, which is chaired by Albury mayor Kevin Mack, will discuss FoodShare’s situation at its meeting today.
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