The Federal Government has announced $4 million in seed funding to create a new independent entity that will be responsible for driving food waste reduction in Australia.
“As part of the government’s ambitious commitment to halve Australia’s food waste by 2030, partnership proposals are being sought to establish a new food waste governance body to drive our National Food Waste Strategy,” Environment Minister Sussan Ley said.
“This new body will be a catalyst for tackling food waste in Australia by bringing together industry, businesses, government, research institutions and food rescue organisations to find innovative, practical solutions to our food waste problems.
“By reducing food waste, we can put money back into household budgets, improve business bottom lines and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.”
According to Ley, Australia wastes more than 7.3 million tonnes of food every year – costing the economy over $20 billion annually.
“Households account for around a third of Australia’s food waste, throwing away 3.1 million tonnes of edible food a year, which costs the average household between $2200 and $3800,” she said.
Ley added that the new governance body will operate in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.
After the initial establishment phase’s seed funding grant, the governance entity will be self-funded through industry membership fees and partnership contributions.
Assistant Waste Reduction and Environmental Management Minister Trevor Evans said the new body will support change in all parts of the farm-to-fork food supply chain – from farmers, food manufacturers and wholesalers through to retailers, hospitality, households and food rescue organisations, as well as create new jobs in food innovation.
A key responsibility of the new entity will be to implement a voluntary commitment program for industry, and to monitor reporting and performance for continual improvement.
“Voluntary commitment programs are a tried and tested way of reducing food waste by focusing on prevention, reuse and food chain innovation, working with all stakeholders across the food value chain to drive innovative and practical solutions,” Evans said.
“The voluntary commitment program signatories can also support households doing it tough by helping them to better manage the food that they buy and grow, wasting less and saving money.”
Evans added that establishing an independent governance entity for food waste delivers on a key priority identified in the National Waste Action Plan agreed with all state and territory governments late last year.
Applications for the partnership opportunity close on 7 September.