Topics: Launch of OzHarvest’s Think.Eat.Save campaign
Thank you very much and obviously to our Traditional Owners, but especially to the amazing Ronni Kahn, to my parliamentary colleagues, to Mark Butler and Larissa Waters, to all of those from the Senate and the House of Representatives and to everybody, everybody engaged in the great national task of reducing poverty, reducing waste and reducing emissions – that is a true meaning of triple bottom line.
Let me turn first to Ronni. She is in many ways a force of nature and one of the responsibilities which comes with the position as Minister for the Environment is the Bureau of Meteorology and within that, they have the task of naming Australia’s cyclones and I am determined that as the letters roll around to ‘R’, we might have Cyclone Ronni recognised in the very near future because that would be a true recognition of the immense energy, but in this case focussed for immense good.
So to Ronni, let me start by acknowledging you and everybody within the OzHarvest team. And you’ve bought so many people together to, as I say, reduce poverty, to reduce waste and to reduce emissions. Those three things together are fundamental.
And the figures so far – I say so far because you are not at the end of the journey, you are really moving to the next great stage of the journey – speak for themselves. Twelve million kilograms, 35 million meals. For those of you wondering, that’s a portion size of approximately 300 grams per meal. But those two numbers – the reduction in waste and I think even more importantly, the reduction in uncertainty for those who are seeking their next meal, are fundamental Australian achievements.
But the task now is to proceed to that next stage and there are really three things that I think we need to do. Firstly, I want to announce today, at this moment, that in a true multi-partisan spirit I will invite my colleagues Mark and Larissa and any of the crossbench who may wish to do so, into a dialogue to establish a National Food Waste 2025 Strategy.
We already have an approach to waste, but let’s set that decade-long task, let’s do it together and to the extent that the Parliament needs to take steps we will look at that and we will do this in the best of faith because at the end of the day, it is an emissions reduction method, it is a waste method but first and foremost it’s about dealing with those that are homeless or hungry or uncertain or living with the great anxiety of wondering where their next meal, or even more importantly, where their children’s next meal may come from.
So that’s the first thing. The second thing is that I can also announce we are establishing under the Emissions Reduction Fund, a methodology for accounting, for recognising and encouraging food waste recovery. And so that means that we can provide additional support on the basis of lowest cost abatement. What that means in addition is we can reduce waste and reduce emissions whilst supporting what this sector is doing in addition to where they are now.
And then the third thing is just to acknowledge everybody who is here. Those involved in Think.Eat.Save, you are providing meals, you are the bridge between those with food and those without food. It is a modern day loaves and fishes exercise run by refrigerated trucks. And for those things, I want to say thank you and I am delighted to officially launch, on the eve of World Environment Day, OzHarvest’s Think.Eat.Save campaign.