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Food Grants Must Increase

Downtown Community Ministry


30 April 2008

Food Grants Must Increase

Annual food grant allocations from Work and Income are no longer enough for beneficiaries coping with recent increases in food prices.

Downtown Community Ministry Advocate Laura Kearney says, “We are calling for Work and Income to double the annual Special Needs Grant for food. This increase would make a huge difference to people forced to go without basics like meat and dairy products.”

She says, “Our clients do their best to sustain their food grant entitlement throughout the year but more people are finding it harder and harder to make it last.

National media has reported increases of up to 30% in food prices over the last year.

Work and Income provides a single person with no dependants an entitlement of $200 dollars per annum for food. The grant is provided under exceptional circumstances and can be accessed throughout the year. If this amount is exhausted case managers have the discretion to provide access to further funds.

“$200 a year dollars is unable to assist people for long under today’s prices. An increase must be seriously looked at and soon,” says Laura.

DCM is not aware of any increase to the SNG over the last 10 years

Clients receiving food parcels at DCM are usually left with between $50 and $100, each week after rent and power. This money is needed for food, transport and other costs like telephone and clothing.

“We know of clients who now treat foods like dairy products and meat as luxuries, and that’s not right,” she says.


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