Morning Tea in Support of Foodbank Queensland
I acknowledge our elected representatives, Foodbank Chairman Ian Brusasco and Board, staff, supporters. It is a great pleasure to welcome you all to Government House this morning.
We hope that the warmth of our welcome approaches that accorded to me when I visited the Foodbank warehouse in Morningside last November. Well… the welcome was as warm, very warm as the coldroom was cold, very cold!
As, I hope, a reasonably informed citizen, I was previously aware of the Foodbank initiative. But briefed then on its comprehensive reach, and witnessing the marvellous dedication of the volunteers and staff that day, I realised this is a truly remarkable example of what should characterise our human community: people helping one another, doing so with real compassion and generosity.
Then, there is the other basic tenet of the initiative, the avoidance of what was, previously, outrageous waste, thereby coming to the relief of those we all should be looking after.
And we all commend the suppliers who are, I understand, very cooperative in this, and that includes the sometimes criticized multi-national chains.
Statistics give us a glimpse of the extent of the challenge that Foodbank faces. The Foodbank Hunger Report 2014 found that, each month, over half a million Australians rely on food relief services. Many are children. That is, half a million of a current Australian population of just 23.6 million.
The Report also cites the sobering statistic that, each month, 60,000 Australians seeking food relief are unable to be assisted. And the need keeps growing.
The recent Foodbank report, Hunger in the Classroom, reveals startling statistics about the number of Australian children who arrive at school not having had breakfast.
This is an educational issue as well as a matter of nutrition. As teachers know well, children who are already hungry at the beginning of their school day are less likely to be able to learn effectively.
But, while the overall challenge is great, so too is the determination and commitment of Foodbank and its many partners to meet as much as possible of the need.
I was staggered to learn, for instance, that in 2014 Foodbank Queensland supplied food for the equivalent of nearly 14 million meals. And that, Australia-wide, Foodbank supports breakfast programs in more than 1000 schools.
Foodbank sits at the hub of an enormous food collection and distribution network comprising suppliers of goods and services all along the supply chain - growers, manufacturers, and logistics companies among them.
And Foodbank supplies a group of charities dedicated to assisting Queenslanders who need food relief services.
As Patron, and on behalf of all Queenslanders, I thank most sincerely the Foodbank Queensland Board led by Ian Brusasco, staff and wonderful volunteers for their invaluable work in our community.
I thank wholeheartedly the group of partners, donors and supporters of Foodbank, many represented here today, who make the organisation’s operations possible.
Kaye and I wish you every success as you continue to make an enormous difference, every day, to the lives of vulnerable Queenslanders. Thank you.