Victoria’s Casey municipality “food security policy” initiative

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 14th February 2012

One of Melbourne’s largest suburban municipalities, the City of Casey (which has a 250,000 population covering areas such as Berwick, Cranbourne, and Narre Warren South) in Melbourne’s South East, has just issued a Draft Food Security Policy. Casey Council is now seeking feedback from its residents.

The proposed Food Security Policy addresses five key areas in order to improve community food access.

The five key areas are:

  • develop food sensitive planning principles in urban design
  • support reduction and redistribution of food waste
  •  strengthen community connectedness through supporting self-reliance of residents
  • strengthen inter-municipal and inter-scetoral partnerships in the south-east region to develop opportunities to secure local, affordable healthy food supplies
  • undertake and support advocacy to ensure the food security of Casey residents

Casey Council considers that a number of Casey residents are currently suffering, or at risk of suffering, an increase of food insecurity. The draft Food Security Policy also foreshadows the Casey community will be further impacted by food price rises and shortages due to adverse environmental conditions, water shortages, loss of agricultural land, petrol shortages, or other economic or environmental events, and rising costs for essential services.

City of Casey Mayor Cr Sam Aziz said, “By identifying food security as an issue that may impact upon residents, Council aims to plan and act now to ensure a positive outcome for residents in the future”.

The Food Security Policy draft document states that food insecurity currently exists as an issue in Casey, and the problem is anticipated to increase. In 2007, 7 percent of residents in the City of Casey were food insecure (Community Indicators Victoria). This figure was higher than the State of Victoria’s average of 6% and represented at least 16,000 of Casey’s households.

The vulnerability index (VAMPIRE) has demonstrated to the Casey Council experts that a significant number of working families in the City of Casey face ‘high risk’ of experiencing the health impacts of chronic food insecurity over the next decade.

Cr Aziz concluded by saying ‘the Council is taking a role in increasing food security for residents by working with residents, community organisations, businesses and other government agencies to address this emerging issue”.

The draft policy can be viewed here.