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PacificEdge | November 22, 2017

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Food fairness lobby calls for policy measures to safeguard the future of NSW food

Food fairness lobby calls for policy measures to safeguard the future of NSW food

A COALITION of scientists and sustainable food lobbyists is calling on the NSW Government to set up an independent food policy council for NSW with the aim of introducing a whole of government strategy for sustainable food production and access.

The Sydney Food Fairness Alliance will present its case for an integrated food policy at a special presentation on Thursday September 23 at NSW Parliament House.

The event will be hosted by Macarthur region MPs Philip Costa, Geoff Corrigan, Andrew McDonald and Graham West. The keynote speaker will be David Mason, an expert on urban agriculture.

SFFA spokesperson Jill Finnane says: “After years of lobbying, the issue of the security of Sydney’s food supply is now firmly on the public agenda. Driven by community concerns about poor nutrition choices, loss of prime agricultural land to development, climate change and industrial-scale farming, we are starting to see a significant shift in the thinking of city councils and governments, especially in Europe and north America—towards developing a comprehensive food policy in broad consultation with the community, government and business.”

The presentation will focus on:

  • the value of developing an integrated food policy for NSW
  • the establishment of a food policy council to develop such a policy
  • how to respond to growing community concern about the future of food production and access to food in NSW

Ms Finnane, who is Eco-Justice Coordinator at the Edmund Rice Centre, welcomed a recent scoping study by the NSW Department of Primary Industry which estimated that with its current population growth, Sydney would need 8000ha of arable land to provide half of its vegetable supply.

“The SFFA believes that an independent food council is the best way to engage people to deal with the challenges we face in ensuring a reliable long-term food supply—challenges that include the rising cost of obesity and related chronic diseases, the impact of climate change and the increasing cost of transporting food for long distances.”

Victoria is the only state government to have proposals for a whole of government food policy—there is no formal, comprehensive national food policy for Australia.

A Federal Senate inquiry into food production (Agricultural and Related Industries) released a final report last month and is proposing to continue into the new Parliament to investigate food production in more detail.

For more information on the SFFA and the case for a NSW food policy, visit: www.sydneyfoodfairness.org.au. Resources include a discussion paper, Why do we need a food policy?

A Food Policy Council would provide a forum for:

  • rigorous analysis of food issues
  • developing innovative responses
  • scenario planning for the future of food
  • stimulating leadership in addressing the dilemmas ahead
  • advocating policy changes
  • networking between different parts of the food system
  • educating all sections of the community
  • building up a broad base of support for implementing changes to the food system.

Sydney Food Fairness Alliance special presentation

Thursday, September 23, Theatrette, NSW Parliament House, Macquarie St, Sydney.

11.30am-12pm followed by light refreshments

To interview Jill Finnane, contact 0417 237 572.

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