• Incentivising Food Donations to Charitable Organisations Bill announcement. L-R: OzHarvest CEO James Gough, Senator Dean Smith, Foodbank Australia CEO Brianna Casey, and SecondBite director of Government Relations & Strategy, Solly Fahiz.
    Incentivising Food Donations to Charitable Organisations Bill announcement. L-R: OzHarvest CEO James Gough, Senator Dean Smith, Foodbank Australia CEO Brianna Casey, and SecondBite director of Government Relations & Strategy, Solly Fahiz.
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End Food Waste Australia says the tabling of Western Australian senator Dean Smith’s private Senators Bill in federal parliament will revolutionise Australia’s approach to food donation.

The Incentivising Food Donations to Charitable Organisations Bill aims to amend the tax system to offer deductions for businesses donating food and essential services, such as refrigeration and transportation, to food rescue organisations.

The bill, a result of extensive collaboration and research from the End Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre, KPMG, food rescue organisations Foodbank Australia and OzHarvest, as well as the Queensland and New South Wales state governments, has the potential to provide millions of additional meals each year to those in need. This initiative is a significant step toward achieving Australia’s goal of halving food waste by 2030.

End Food Waste Australia CEO, Dr Steven Lapidge, said, “With more than 7.6 million tonnes of food wasted annually in Australia – 70 per cent of which is edible – this initiative is not just timely but essential. One in six Australian adults and 1.2 million children have gone hungry in the past year.

“This tax incentive will encourage businesses to donate surplus food and essential services, dramatically increasing the support for food rescue organisations and ensuring that surplus food reaches those who need it most.

“The proposed tax incentive not only addresses food insecurity but also aligns with environmental sustainability goals by reducing the volume of waste sent to landfills. Businesses will benefit from tax deductions, creating a win-win situation for both the economy and society.”

The bill proposes a tiered system where smaller food businesses would receive higher tax offsets than larger ones.

A company with turnover of $20 million or less would get a 45 per cent offset. From $25-$50 million would be 40 per cent, and $50 million or more would receive 35 per cent.

“The tax offset is capped at the lower of $5 million or a percentage of the costs incurred through food donations based on that company’s aggregate turnover,” Smith said.

The cost of the Bill would depend on the final scope of the bill and businesses’ uptake of the offset.

“The current design of the bill is that it run for three years with a review mechanism, and it does include some integrity measures to make sure that people don't abuse the scheme.

“The parliamentary budget office has estimated it could be as modest as $40 million, which is a very good use of taxpayer funds when measured against the huge social benefit that's delivered.”

Lapidge said, “The End Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre is proud to have worked alongside our partners at KPMG, Foodbank Australia and OzHarvest, as well as the Queensland and New South Wales state governments, to bring this visionary project to fruition that led to the bill. This collaborative effort underscores the importance of unified action in tackling food waste and hunger.

Lapidge will be joining other leading international and national experts at the 2024 National Food Waste Summit in Melbourne later this month on 24 and 25 July. Attended by representatives from across industry, research, and government, the summit explores the collaborative planning, strategy and action required to meet this country’s challenging – but achievable – food waste reduction goal.

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