Member for Morwell Russell Northe is today calling upon the State Government to fast-track the promised Morwell Foodbank hub to support the Latrobe Valley community in the wake of COVID-19.
“The State Government in 2018 made an election commitment to provide $10 million to establish two Foodbank hubs, including one in Morwell” Mr Northe said earlier today.
“I thought then and I thought now, that this was a terrific and warranted initiative – I was thrilled that our community were to be the beneficiary of such an important service that assists with the provision of emergency food relief” Mr Northe said.
“In April last year, I first wrote to the Minister in seeking information regarding this project, who advised that the first step in developing the Foodbank facility for Morwell would be a ‘business case to determine its location and operations’” said Mr Northe.
“The Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers confirmed, that funding was allocated for this project in last-year’s budget – but there has been no evidence of progress made, even to this day” Mr Northe lamented.
“I again wrote to the Minister in March of this year, in seeking the status of the Governments election commitment, and at a time when many in our community were facing food shortages and difficulty accessing essential items as COVID-19 first hit. This subsequently placed enormous pressure on our community’s outreach and service providers who already operate in a stretched capacity” Mr Northe continued.
“Unfortunately, we still have no answers as to how, where and when the Morwell Foodbank project will commence, which is really disappointing” Mr Northe said.
“Local providers were already under substantial pressure prior to COVID-19 and its evident the many more individuals and families are accessing and sourcing food and supplies from charitable organisations and service providers in our region and demand is unlikely to reduce any time soon” Mr Northe stated.
“Foodbank are a terrific organisation and their assistance and support of vulnerable individuals and families is well recognised, and their increased presence in the Latrobe Valley will make such a positive difference in our community” Mr Northe continued.
The Foodbank team continue to run their Farms to Families markets in the Latrobe Valley and many other vital food programs around Victoria – many of which rely on public donations and charitable partners.