Now more than ever we need to improve our food system so that it is more healthy, equitable and sustainable. And with the NSW state election being held on 25 March it’s everyone’s opportunity to have their say on the issue.
To assist, we have been working with Sustain, Professor Karen Charlton and Suzy Pickles from the University of Wollongong, Australia’s Right to Food Coalition, Community Gardens Australia and Young Farmers Connect to pull together a scorecard to rate the major parties on their policies relating to our food system.
“Access to fresh, nutritious food is a fundamental human right, and an essential part of preventative public health. We want to see the next NSW government making a significant investment in a more sustainable food system to improve the health of our population and environment, for the benefit of all Australians.”
Dr. Nick Rose, Executive Director at Sustain
The problem is wide-ranging. Diet-related ill-health and mental illness cost Australia around $200 bn every year. Climate change costs are anticipated to grow, with extreme weather events alone costing the Australian economy $35 billion over the past decade. In Australia vulnerable communities disproportionately experience barriers to accessing nutritionally adequate, safe, culturally appropriate and affordable food. Food insecurity is associated with poor mental and physical health with approximately 800,000 adults per year experiencing food insecurity nationally, a number that is expected to rise in 2023 and beyond.
“Food insecurity significantly impacts the health and well-being of individuals and households in our community. The staggering statistic that 1 in 5 households in Australia experienced food insecurity in 2021/22 is a clear indication that urgent and decisive action is needed by the NSW government.”
Berbel Franse, Program Manager at Healthy Cities Illawarra
For each of the major parties replied to us, see their responses at the links below.
Note: Regrettably, the scorecard does not encompass independent and minor parties, even though some are implementing certain or all of the recommendations by the Food Production and Supply in NSW commission report. We encourage you to use the scorecard key to rate the independent and minor parties in your electorate on their policies across the nine categories relating to our food system.
Against each topic the major parties were given a score of three carrots (best practice), two carrots (reasonable policies), one carrot (general statement), or no carrots (no commitment).
That way, when considering your vote you can use these scorecards to quickly tell each party’s stance.
This graphic was updated on 6/04/2023 to include the Coalition’s response. Their response was received on the eve of the election, after we had already run the campaign.
“The current food system is contributing to climate change and malnutrition in all its forms. Urgent action is needed to change the way food is produced, processed, sold and consumed.”
Professor Karen Charlton, University of Wollongong
For more reading, you can look at the NSW Legislative Council Committee on Environment and Planning report ‘Food production and supply in NSW’ from November last year.