New plan to tackle food insecurity

The NSW government will put $7m towards easing food insecurity across the state through two new grant programs. Picture: NCA Newswire / Nicki Connolly

Australians struggling with food insecurity may soon get some relief as the NSW government announces a multimillion-dollar plan to tackle food waste.

More than 30 per cent of NSW households experience moderate or severe food insecurity, with the NSW government set to open two new grant programs worth $7m to support Australians.

It comes as about 70 per cent of food wasted in NSW is still edible, with 37 per cent chalked up to the hospitality, retail and institutional sectors.

More than 30 per cent of NSW households experience moderate or severe food insecurity. Picture: NCA Newswire / Gaye Gerard.

Rotting food also accounts for almost 60 per cent of total landfill waste emissions, generating 3.1 million tonnes of CO2-e per year in NSW.

The new initiative will aim to redirect food to keep it out of landfill and into the homes of struggling Australians.

Minister for Climate Change and the Environment Penny Sharpe said the grants would help feed more of the community while reducing waste.

“1.7 million tonnes of food goes to waste in NSW every year, even though more than two-thirds of it is still edible. We are making sure more of that food reaches those in need across NSW,” she said.

“These grants are a win-win. They will help charities feed more people by saving food that would otherwise be wasted.

“At the same time, they will lower emissions from landfill. When we waste food, we also waste the energy and water it takes to grow, harvest, transport and package it.”

The NSW government will put $4m towards helping businesses reduce food waste, with an additional $3m put towards charities that rescue edible food and deliver it to families in need.

The NSW government’s new plan aims to give struggling Australians more food and reduce food waste. Picture: NCA Newswire / Gaye Gerard.

Business and peak industry bodies can apply for grants of up to $200,000 as part of the $4m Business Food Waste Partnership Grants in a bid to boost recycling and tackle food waste.

Food rescue charities can apply for grants of up to $500,000 and rebates of up to $2000 for new infrastructure, equipment, and invest in education.

Education is a key focus of the initiative, with grantees set to partner with the NSW Environment Protection Authority to design and deliver food waste education programs.

Businesses, peak bodies and councils are among the organisations invited to apply.

The eligibility criteria requires organisations to operate in NSW and be a food support organisation that accepts rescued food to provide relief to the community.

Not-for-profit, local council, local government regional waste groups and regional organisations of councils acting on behalf of three or more NSW food support organisations are also able to apply.

The Business Food Waste Partnerships Grants and the Food Rescue Grants are both open until April 19.

The Food Rescue Rebates are ongoing until June 30, 2027.