Transcript: Jenny McAllister on the Government's Cuts to Foodbank
11.30am | November 12, 2018
SENATOR JENNY MCALLISTER
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES
SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES
PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
MONDAY, 12 NOVEMBER 2018
JENNY MCALLISTER, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES: Good morning.
I wanted to make a few remarks about Foodbank, because just last week the CEO of Foodbank got a call informing her that her organisation would have its funding almost halved.
$320,000 taken away from this organisation.
Now, this is an organisation that every month provides food to more than 700,000 Australians and in the lead up to Christmas, just six weeks before the funding cut is supposed to be enacted, the Government is taking money away.
Now, this is a Government that has argued for years to provide $17 billion to the banking sector and yet it can't find $300,000 to feed some of Australia's poorest people.
It beggars belief. Now I note that the Government is out this morning arguing that it's fine because they have provided a grant to another organisation. Well, it tells you how little they understand about their own programs, because what Foodbank tell us is that the money they have received from Government, this core funding for the staples - pasta, rice, flour, pasta sauce - this is the bedrock of their program and it helps them leverage an $8 million program more broadly through working with farmers and wholesalers.
The Government doesn't understand its own programs - this is an inevitable consequence of having four Ministers for Social Services in just five years and I'd encourage Mr Fletcher to go out to the warehouse at Glendenning as I have done and take a look at Foodbank's operation. They are doing amazing work - working with charities and volunteer organisations, all across the country to deliver food to hungry people and I cannot believe that this Government would make the cut that they have.
This should be reversed. There is no reason why the Minister cannot step in today and say I am reversing this cut. It should be reversed and it should be done today.
JOURNALIST: Does it make sense? Have they done something wrong? Or has Foodbank done something wrong do you think or have they given money to their mates?
MCALLISTER: The Government needs to explain why it is that they have chosen to take money away from this organisation, which is doing such good work. If there is an explanation, it hasn't been provided publicly and it hasn't been provided to Foodbank.
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