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Australia: Policy Highlights and Opportunities

Each year, approximately 7.6 million tons of all food in Australia is either lost or wasted along the supply chain. At the same time, between 4-13% of the population is moderately to severely food insecure. The Australian government has prioritized hunger reduction as part of its national policy agenda. In 2017, the National Food Waste Strategy was released, which has set a goal to cut Australia’s food waste in half by 2030.

Atlas Research: Australia

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Legal Guide

Learn more about the legal frameworks relevant to food donation and how Australia's existing laws and policies support or hinder the country's progress.

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Policy Recommendations

Dive into recommendations for policymakers based on the gaps and opportunities identified in the legal guides.

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Executive Summary

Read highlights of the research findings and our high-level recommendations.

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Policy Highlights

Australia research was published in June 2022 and was made possible with the advice and support of our on-site partners, including Foodbank Australia.
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Date Labeling

Australia’s date labeling scheme is enforced at the state and territory level and imposes a dual date labeling scheme on most food items. Specifically, the labeling scheme distinguishes between safety-based and quality-based date labels,

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requiring manufacturers to affix either a safety-based date, expressed as “Use By” only for food that is considered a potential risk to consumers, or a “Best Before” date after which food may still be perfectly safe to consume, with a few exceptions.

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Liability Protections for Food Donations

Each state and territory in Australia has enacted laws to provide protection from civil liability to food donors. Food recovery organizations in New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania receive liability protection for food donation. 

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However, Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia, the Northern Territory, and the Australian Capital Territory exclude organizations that distribute food donated by others from civil liability protection. This means that food recovery organizations would not receive protection in these jurisdictions.

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Policy Opportunities and Recommendations

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Food Safety for Donations

To ensure that food is donated safely and does not pose risks to recipients, as well as provide clarity to encourage food donors, the Australian government should amend the Australia 

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New Zealand Food Standard Code 2014 or produce and disseminate clarifying guidance on food safety requirements relevant to donation.

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Liability Protections for Food Donations

In order to offset costs businesses may incur when donating food, the Australian government should amend the ITAA 1997 to cover costs incurred in the transport, storage, and refrigeration of donated food. 

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Further, the Australian government should develop a food-donation specific tax deduction that provides a higher valuation for donated food to encourage businesses to donate rather than discard food.

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Mapping food donation policies around the world

The Atlas map compares food donation laws and policies in different countries and evaluates legislation across several issue areas. Use the map to see where your country stands and learn from best practices around the world.

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About Us

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Methodology

Read our detailed project methodology rooted in inclusion, accuracy, and transparency.

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