A charity that feeds 710,000 Australians every month says the federal government has lowered its budget almost half past weeks just before Christmas.
Foodbank says funding for its Key Staples program, which means that important deliveries like rice, bread and vegetables come to hungry people will fall from $ 750,000 to $ 427,000.
"We are dumbfounded," said Foodbank CEO Brianna Casey. "With this funding program, we can utilize an extremely modest investment from the government to more than 8 million dollars of essential food for distribution to 2,600 charity organizations around the country."
The program sees that food producers produce food with extra production capacity, while suppliers donate or subsidize ingredients, packaging and delivery.
In February, Foodbank asked the government for $ 10.5 million for three years, as it said would return to $ 316 million to the Australian economy. But charity says that the latest cutting – the third since 2014 – could mean the end of the Key Staples program.
"The federal government funding is crucial to glue these production arrangements together," said Ms Casey.
Despite growing demand, Ms Casey said government funding had dropped from $ 1.5 million a year three years ago to $ 427,000 a year from January 2019.
On Thursday, Social Service Officer Paul Fletcher announced food associations Foodbank, SecondBite and OzHarvest to share in more than 4.5 million dollars. But the money will spread over four and a half years, starting January.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten has written to the government asking for the insert to be reversed.
"I'm really surprised by this average and stupid decision," said Shorten.
Foodbank provides 67 million meals a year to charity organizations across the country, as well as more than 1,750 schools.
It is Australia's largest food supplier to schools for breakfast programs. The Greens say that "callous" and "unnecessary" cuts will have a significant impact on people's lives in rural and remote Australia.
"Food should never be a discretionary object, but it is becoming more and more the case in Australia, meaning children go without food," said Greens Senator Rachel Siewert.