Australian Group Wants National Debate on Food
By Jessica Burke
Sept. 1 A Sydney food campaign group says Australia needs a major overhaul to ensure fair, sustainable and resilient foods systems are in place and has called for a debate on the issue.
The Sydney Food Fairness Alliance (SFFA) expressed their concerns in a submission on the National Food Plan due today, where they have highlighted their concern about how the food environment will be impacted by climate change.
SFFA President Elizabeth Millen says the government needs to be focused on the important issues of food safety and sustainability.
“While we welcome the fact that the Federal Government listened to calls to extend the submissions period, it looks like they are trying to ‘fast-track’ this important issue, rather than taking time to consider a systematic response to limitations on resources such as oil on which agriculture has been traditionally been based,” she said.
“We would like to see outlined details of an extensive consultation process, as has happened for example in Scotland, following the current call for submissions, due this week.”
The group has been calling for development of a NSW State food policy since 2005 and says many of the issues they have raised at a state level are also relevant at a national level.
The submission will call for a Food Security Agency/Ministry to be set up with overall responsibility to implement and monitor the plan in consultation with representatives from producers and consumers.
“The lack of systematic mapping and identification of prime agricultural land has contributed to a situation in which many competing uses for agricultural land such as urban development and mining are valued more highly,” the submission reads.
“For example, in the Sydney Basin, 50% of market gardens lie in the designated growth areas under the Metropolitan Strategy, which barely considers future food needs of this increased population.
“Nutritional security and reducing food miles must also be considered, given that Australia is a net importer of fresh fruit and vegetables and is suffering rising food prices.”
The SFFA has highlighted the issues of food insecurity in its calls for an overhaul to the system.
Read more at Food Magazine