Aussies eating from bins as crisis bites

Australians have been forced to dumpster dive as a result of cost-of-living pressures. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Flavio Brancaleone

Australians are skipping meals and picking food out of rubbish bins to stay afloat as the cost of groceries skyrockets, a new report has found.

The shocking reports have emerged as part of a Salvation Army survey of 1500 Australians who reached out to the Salvos Doorways financial relief service over the last 12 months.

The survey found at least 94 per cent of people were struggling to afford essentials including housing, groceries, medical care and bills, while 63 per cent are skipping meals to keep up with the soaring cost of living.

Shockingly, the research also found more than one in four respondents were forced to consume expired or spoiled food, while one in 20 had to eat food from rubbish bins.

Aussies are dumpster diving as the cost-of-living crisis worsens, according to the Salvation Army report. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Flavio Brancaleone

A 33-year-old mother who accessed Salvation Army support said she was having to go without food so her kids could eat.

“(I’m) having to constantly borrow money off friends due to not being able to buy essentials,” she said.

“I’m having to go days without eating so my kids can eat, cancelling specialist appointments that are a requirement for my health due to the cost of living.”

Another mother said she felt like she was “living on the edge” trying to keep up with the rising cost of living.

“I find each week I’m having to borrow money to get by, so each week I am behind,” she said.
“Some weeks I have not paid my rent so I can provide for my kids and medical scans they have needed. It causes so much stress living on the edge.”

Salvation Army commanding officer Major Brendan Nottle said it was startling to see how many Australians were having to make such impossible decisions.

Salvation Army Major Brendan Nottle said the numbers were frightening. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ Blair Jackson
Salvation Army Major Brendan Nottle said the numbers were frightening. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ Blair Jackson

“In a lucky country like Australia, individuals and families shouldn’t have to make these sorts of decisions, like choosing whether to eat, pay rent or send your kids to the doctor,” he said.

“But these are the people the Salvos help every day as we try to give a new beginning to those struggling in our community.”

The charity is hoping to raise $38m as part of its annual Red Shield Appeal to continue providing lifesaving support to those doing it tough in communities around the country.

The Salvation Army provides more than 1.6 million meals to people who access their homelessness services and more than 1.2 million beds to people who need accommodation.

Australians can support The Salvation Army’s 60th Red Shield Appeal by visiting or calling 13 SALVOS. You can also donate at any Salvos store.