As the world’s population grows to a potential 9 billion, we need to ask ourselves; how will we feed them all?  One answer will be to learn to grow more with the same or less natural resources.  That’s why addressing the challenges posed by a changing climate including the embrace of more sustainable and productive farming practices is so important.  Innovation will play a big role.

But a good start also would be to reduce the ridiculous amount of food we waste.  Last week I attended an OzHarvest function in Parliament House where we were told that in Australia alone, we throw out $8-10 billion worth of food each year!  At the event, we were fed food that had been rescued from the surplus food stream and it was fine.  OzHarvest founder and social entrepreneur Ronni Kahn is the brains behind the rescued food project and it’s been a huge success.  Their goal is to reduce food waste globally by 50% by 2025 both through public education and recovery.  It’s a great cause.


The Abbott Government’s approach to youth unemployment has the potential to confine young people to an endless cycle of no income support at all, pushing many young jobseekers into poverty, crisis and homelessness.

With unemployment forecast to peak at 6.5 per cent and youth unemployment already around 14 per cent this type of measure is patently unfair, and bad for the economy. 

Jobseekers need support to find a job, not savage attacks that make it harder for them to find work.

Whether for one month or six, Labor will not support a measure which pushes young people into poverty and hardship.

In Canberra last week I met with board members from the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR).

FRRR is a charitable trust and works to achieve positive outcomes for rural and remote communities, and help community groups create local solutions to local issues.

The FRRR is Australia's only national foundation offering small, discretionary funds to regional communities in all states and territories. FRRR was established in 2000 through the support of the Australian Government and the Sidney Myer Fund to promote rural and regional renewal, regeneration and development in Australia in social, economic, environmental, and cultural areas.

Since its establishment, FRRR has provided over $25 million in grants to communities across regional Australia and has leveraged many millions more supporting projects that benefit whole communities.

A number of local community groups have benefited from FRRR funding. These include; Denman and District Men’s Shed, Putty Community Association, Upper Hunter Community Services, McCully’s Gap Hall Association, Muswellbrook PCYC, CWA Rylstone, Olinda Bush Fire Brigade, Jerry’s Plains & District Progress Association, UnitingCare Singleton Disability Respite Services and Baerami Memorial School of Arts.

FRRR has a number of grants that open at different times of the year. To find out more details about available grants, including how to apply, visit

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