Bank food banks are not the problem, according to a new report by the Australian Financial Resolution Foundation.
In the first of its kind study, the report finds that a bank’s food bank is far from the worst part of the financial system.
In fact, it found that the food bank system is one of the most effective mechanisms of helping people in need and the financial industry has a vital role to play in the food banking system.
“A food bank, like any other service, should be seen as a resource that can be used to help those in need,” the report says.
“It is essential that we continue to invest in food banks and other community-based agencies to meet the needs of those most in need, and to support them to achieve their full potential.”
The report, published by the AFRF Foundation, says there is a lack of support from the Commonwealth for food banks.
“We found that food banks, in their current form, are largely not being adequately funded by the Commonwealth, particularly in remote communities,” the AAFF report says, adding that many food banks operate without adequate staffing and funding.
“The Food Bank Australia Foundation’s report found that a significant proportion of the food banks currently operating in Australia are in the hands of private organisations.”
The AAFTF report also found that in a survey of the nation’s 100 largest banks, only a third of respondents had a food bank in their food bank.
“More than 80 per cent of respondents stated that they do not have a food banking service in their bank, with only a quarter saying that they would be able to provide services to food bank customers without the help of a foodbank,” the authors say.
“Almost two thirds said they would have difficulty in providing food for the people they serve.”
Food banks are a critical part of a broader network of services that includes other health and wellbeing services, social work, housing support, and even education.
“In these areas, a food banks service is critical to the provision of support to people who have been adversely affected by economic hardship and other factors.”
The Australian Financial Reporting Council (AFRC) is a non-profit organisation established by the Financial Conduct Authority to ensure the integrity of financial reporting.
The AFRC recommends that financial reporting be done by financial institutions with a “high level of responsibility and transparency”, and the government and the AFT have been “very supportive of this.”
“It’s very clear that there’s a lack for the Australian financial reporting industry to adequately fund the foodbank system, especially when it comes to funding services like food banks,” the foundation’s executive director, Chris White, said.
“This report will certainly be of interest to our members who are in financial need and food banks.”
The foundation has been urging the government to provide more financial support for foodbanks since 2015.
In a statement, the government said the food and retail industries had been supportive of foodbanks, which it called “a vital part of our food system”.
“While the government supports a number of food banks that operate in rural areas, the AFAF report demonstrates that the system is not able to meet all the needs for food bank recipients in remote and remote-adjacent communities,” it said.
The report found some banks were providing food to people living in remote areas.
“While there is an increasing number of people who are living in the remote communities in Western Australia, it is not clear how many of those people have access to a food pantry or food bank,” the study found.
The AFATF’s report also notes that some banks may not be able or willing to accept food for people who cannot provide it themselves.”