Laws could deliver life-saving fruit and vegies boon

Hungry Australians struggling with the cost-of-living crisis could benefit from laws that will drive down the price of fruit and vegetables.

Western Australian senator Dean Smith will table a private senator's bill that incentivises food businesses such as farmers and grocery store chains to donate surplus food instead of dumping it.

"Food-relief charities are fighting to meet unprecedented demand while at the same time, an unbelievable amount of food is dumped each year," the Liberal senator and opposition charities spokesman said.

Fruit and vegetables
A WA senator's bill aims to incentivise farmers and grocery chains to donate not dump surplus food. (Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS)

"My private senator's bill is aimed at turning that around and delivering meaningful help to Australians in need."

The bill will be introduced to the Senate on Wednesday.

If it passes, it will change the tax system to make donating to food relief charities the more profitable option.

The measure would potentially provide food banks with millions of extra meals and discourage the dumping of food, helping Australia reach its bipartisan commitment to halve food waste by 2030.

The bill is based on a tax incentive proposal developed by food relief organisations Foodbank, OzHarvest and SecondBite, and reflects similar policy in the US, France and Canada.

The proposal was a key recommendation of the House of Representatives agriculture committee's probe into food security.

Food donation charity chiefs
Food donation charities have welcomed proposed new tax incentives to discourage the dumping of food. (Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS)

Foodbank Australia chief executive Brianna Casey said the bill would be a life-saver for families struggling to afford fruit and vegetables.

"We have families unable to put food on the table despite tonnes of perfectly edible food being dumped or ploughed in each year," she said.

"The debate in the Senate next week should be about how quickly we can introduce it, not about party politics."

SecondBite chief executive Daniel Moorfield affirmed his charity's commitment to working with the federal government to ensure the policy was smoothly implemented.

"Together, we can make a lasting impact on the lives of millions of Australians," he said.

Assistant Charities Minister Andrew Leigh has been contacted for comment.