It’s important to consider the scale of the economic collapse and there is no better indicator than demand for help from charities.
Demand for food relief has risen by 47% during the Covid-19 restrictions, Australian charities say, with the growing numbers of international students and casual workers asking for help.
In a report to be released today, Foodbank surveyed about 500 charities once a month between April and September, as well as 1,000 Australians aged 18 and older, who had experienced food insecurity in the past 12 months.
Despite the doubling of the jobseeker payment and the introduction of the JobKeeper subsidy, Foodbank said casual workers and international students were among two “newly food insecure groups emerging as a result of the pandemic.”
International students are barred from accessing JobSeeker or JobKeeper payments.
Last year, Foodbank supported more than 126,000 South Australians every month.
It is expected that number, including international students will rise to more than 250,000.
According to Foodbank SA, the state needs to boost in food supplies by 25 per cent to feed its destitute and poor people.
Research suggests as many as one in six international students have relied on charity for emergency food relief.
Foodbank also noted a large increase in the number of newly unemployed people seeking food relief since the start of the pandemic. Those experiencing food insecurity before the pandemic were now seeking assistance more often.
The Foodbank report said “food insecure” people waiting for their welfare claims to be approved “experienced significant uncertainty in their everyday lives”.
The $550 a fortnight coronavirus supplement added to jobseeker payment and other benefits was reduced by $300 last month.
The move has increased hardship among vulnerable groups, such as the unemployed, homeless and single parents.