AUSTRALIA – The Australian government has committed AUD 4 million (US$2.8 million) in seed funding to create a new body that will be responsible for driving food waste reduction in Australia.

In addition to that the government has released a partnership call as it seeks suitably experienced and skilled entities to submit a partnering proposal to establish the independent, long-term governance entity.

This initiative will deliver the National Food Waste Strategy to halve food waste in the country by 2030.

Australia wastes more than 7.3 million tonnes of food every year costing the economy over AUD 20 billion (US$14 billion) annually with households accounting for around a third.

In fact, last year Rabobank said that Australia as a nation is “losing the battle against food waste”.

The environmental cost is also said to be high, with food waste accounting for approximately five percent the national greenhouse gas emissions.

The independent entity will support change in all parts of the farm-to-fork food supply chain; from farmers, food manufacturers and wholesalers through to retailers, hospitality, households and food rescue organisations. It is said to also create new jobs in food innovation.

A key responsibility of the new body will be to implement a voluntary commitment programme for the industry which will support households in better managing the food that they buy and grow.

“Voluntary commitment programmes are a tried and tested way of reducing food waste by focusing on prevention, reuse and food chain innovation, working with all stakeholders across the food value chain to drive innovative and practical solutions,” said Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, Trevor Evans.

After the initial seed funding grant, the governance entity will be self-funded through industry membership fees and partnership contributions.

“This new body will be a catalyst for tackling food waste in Australia by bringing together industry, businesses, government, research institutions and food rescue organisations to find innovative, practical solutions to our food waste problems,” the Minister for the Environment, Sussan Ley, said.

“By reducing food waste, we can put money back into household budgets, improve business bottom lines and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.”

The new body, will operate in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.

The governance entity will also be responsible for a range of other food waste reduction activities including developing sector action plans, stimulating active stakeholder engagement and key data reporting.

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