OzHarvest CEO Ronni Kahn responds to National Food Waste Strategy
In response to the launch of the strategy, Kahn, who leads food rescue charity OzHarvest, said Australia can do much better.
“OzHarvest put national food waste on the government’s agenda back in June 2015 under former Environment Minister Greg Hunt, and we have been biting at their heels since then,” she said.
“Despite being part of many positive conversations, advisory groups, presentations, international benchmarking and numerous phone calls, the end result for me was seriously underwhelming. It appeared more like a tick the box exercise, rather than a plan to inspire action.”
As part of the strategy, the government will commit $1.37 million over 24 months to support an independent organisation that will develop an implementation plan; a voluntary commitment program that will engage businesses to commit to actions that reduce food waste; and a National Food Waste Baseline to track progress towards the food waste reduction goal.
Kahn said she initially thought the $1.37 million figure was a typo.
“Whilst I totally support the need for collective action and the four priority areas of the strategy – policy support, business improvements, market development and behaviour change – serious funding is needed to get things going,” she said. “Quite frankly, $1.37 million is not enough. This low level of funding reflects the lack of priority and political will shown by the government to this huge economic and environmental problem.”
She said while Australia’s voluntary commitment program will be in place by 2019, the UK launched its first voluntary agreement back in 2005.
“To say we are lagging behind is an understatement,” said Kahn.
“I am fiercely committed to the fight against food waste and will continue to use my voice as part of the National Food Waste Steering Committee. Everyone is part of the solution. But yesterday, government did not do their part.”