Food charity reveals grim virus figures
The number of Australians dependent on a food charity at least one day a week has doubled in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
New data from Foodbank shows the number of "food insecure" Australians using charities to get by has jumped from 15 per cent to 31 per cent - with nearly half of those struggling for food now going one day a week without eating anything at all.
According to the report, nearly a third, or 28 per cent of Australians experiencing food insecurity, had never experienced it before the pandemic took hold, and 60 per cent of those people are women.
"While COVID-19 has made life even more difficult for already-vulnerable Australians, it has launched others into food insecurity for the first time," the report read.
"Charities have seen two newly food insecure groups emerging as a result of the pandemic: the casual workforce and international students."
Young Australians are also more likely to be doing it tough during the pandemic, as they are more likely to be working casually.
Gen Z is experiencing food insecurity on a far higher level than older generations - 65 per cent of food insecure Australians aged 18 to 25 are going hungry at least once a week, while only a quarter of Boomers - those aged 56-74 - and Builders - those 75 plus - are similarly affected.
Between March and July, as harsh lockdowns were enacted across the country, 556,800 Australians lost their jobs, and the unemployment rate increased from 5.2 per cent to 7.5 per cent.
A study from Good Shepherd referenced in the report found two in five Australians had experienced negative employment changes since April, including reduced hours or pay, being temporarily stood down and taking leave to avoid loss of pay.
While the Federal Government deployed increases in welfare payments like Jobseeker and JobKeeper to try to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on the economy, nearly 40 per cent of food-insecure Australians did not reach out for help.
Of those who have received either Jobseeker or JobKeeper, 62 per cent say they are not receiving the assistance they need, and 35 per cent say they don't know how they will cope when the additional government support is taken away.
More than a third of recipients told Foodbank they needed more support than they were currently getting from the Gvernment, while one in five are not eligible for any additional support.
Originally published as Food charity reveals grim virus figures