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Nourishing connections for food equity in NSW

Quick facts

Food inequity is an issue that impacts sections of all communities in NSW.

  • Research recently commissioned by Aboriginal Affairs NSW concluded that food insecurity exceeds 96% (Sax Institute, 2023).
  • Food insecurity impacts the health and wellbeing of individuals, which creates higher levels of diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol in adults and behavioural/developmental impacts on children (NRHA, 2016).
  • The issue is growing for communities following the pandemic, current rises in the cost of living and the sequential emergencies that NSW is facing. Over 55% of food insecure households reported that they were more food insecure this year than the year prior (Foodbank, 2022).
  • Previous data (ABS, 2012-13) estimated that between 4% and 13% of the general population in Australia are food insecure; and 22% to 32% of the Indigenous population are food insecure - depending on location.  

Aboriginal Affairs NSW (AANSW) drafted a mind map of known issues that impact someone being food secure to help understand the different factors that create and perpetuate insecurity for households. 

‘Food security’ becomes ‘food inequity’ in the absence of a coordinated response

There is a large degree of work underway to address food insecurity, however, there is no consistent or clear leader coordinating a long term approach to address the root cause of food insecurity. AANSW mind map shows the multiple factors impacting being food secure, which reflects how that there is no one simple ‘fix’ to this complex issue. The longer food security is left unresolved, it generates a greater inequity divide for those experiencing food insecurity.

Food inequity impacts individuals’ quality of life, lifespan, health and aspirations. The responsibility for achieving meaningful and sustainable changes to food security for communities living in vulnerable circumstances cannot rest on the shoulders of households – it needs a collective effort for all sectors to make the changes needed.

AANSW role in food inequity

AANSW is not a service agency and has no role in providing food to communities.

During the pandemic, AANSW identified that the scale of food insecurity for Aboriginal communities was higher than statistics had indicated. In response AANSW engaged research to be done to provide evidence based facts (Sax Institute (2023) and University of Sydney (2022) literature review). AANSW identified a need for all sectors, governments, organisations and communities with a role in food equity to work together and reconsidered how food equity is coordinated and supported to be achieved and sustained for all communities.

Food Equity Symposium:

On 5 and 6 September 2023 AANSW hosted a Food Equity Symposium to commence the conversation to assess the willingness of cross sector and communities to work together to consider all factors that impact food security to spearhead change. Individual speakers and presenters from Day 1 are accessible here.

On Day 2 people collaborated and shared knowledge in workshops to develop ideas for future pathways for achieving food equity in NSW. A summary of the workshop discussions was captured by Digital Storytellers, which will be included in the special report to be collated from this event. The voices of the people of what equity means to attendees was also captured.

What’s Next?

The Hon. Minister Harris, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs NSW and Treaty stated the importance of creating new partnerships, working smarter, sharing information and be more cost efficient with resources to simultaneously working and planning to address the food stress now while also addressing ways to resolve food inequity. The Minister agreed to the need to work differently to do better for communities, and committed the Minns Labor Government will listen and act in the best way they can to address food security together with governments, organisations and community. Aboriginal Affairs NSW is currently collating the data and discussion to develop this report to government. When the report is finalised, it will be available online.

Working groups:

Aboriginal Affairs NSW hosts working group meetings with representatives from Aboriginal Community Control Organisations, multicultural communities, government agencies, industry, not-for-profit organisations, philanthropists and academics to discuss policies, programs and solutions in the short and longer term.

If you are interested in following the progress of this work consider following AANSW on LinkedIn and Facebook or if you have suggestions / feedback on food equity or something you have seen on the this page - please email us at

If members of your community need support to feed mob - Try these local support services

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