Food insecurity is a significant issue for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia. These indigenous people living in remote, regional and urban areas face significant food challenges that began with their colonisation. Colonisation, and socioeconomic challenges combine to negatively exacerbate low income, housing challenges, unemployment, food availability and availability among these key population groups. The history and the current predicament of these groups mean they have high incidences of food insecurity.
Causes, Consequences and Possible Solutions to Food Insecurity
Causes of Food Insecurity
There are various causes and underlying circumstances that predispose these two indigenous groups to food insecurity. These are the structural barriers that are beyond the control of individuals, and the communities which collectively contribute to food insecurity.
Low-income and unemployment: On average the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups have a weekly average income that is $250 lower than non-indigenous homes (Taylor, et al., 2013, p. 61). During the 2014-2015 year, the unemployment rate for these indigenous groups stood at 21 percent which is significantly higher than for non-indigenous people. Moreover, 27 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people report running out of money for basic living expenses. Such scenarios predispose these indigenous groups to a cyclic nature of food insecurity and poverty.
Housing: Poor and inadequate environmental health infrastructure is a major barrier to food security. Eliminating overcrowding and providing adequately designed, built and maintained housing is vital for safe preparation, consumption, and storage of food.