Food security is shaping as a critical issue for all Australians, especially those in the Murray Darling Basin.
In the lead-up to the next federal election, Charles Sturt University (CSU) and its Institute for Land Water and Society (ILWS) will host a public debate that will explore the views of candidates standing for the election, as well as CSU experts, on important aspects around food security at CSU in Albury-Wodonga on Wednesday 14 August.
Using a question-and-answer format, three CSU experts outline the importance of food security and its implications for all Australians as well as the Basin:
- Professor Deirdre Lemerle, Director of the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation on agricultural production;
- Associate Professor Sue McAlpin on the diet and health implications; and,
- ILWS researcher Professor Allan Curtis on the environmental and social implication for food security.
They will be followed by four election candidates from the electorates of Farrer and Indi who will outline their policies to the audience:
- The current federal Member for Farrer, the Hon. Sussan Ley,
- Country Labor Party candidate for Farrer, Mr Gavin Hickey,
- Australian Greens candidate for Indi, Ms Jenny O’Connor, and
- Independent candidate for Indi, Ms Cathy McGowan.
All panellists will then be open to questions from the floor, with the evening moderated by ABC Goulburn Murray station manager Ms Gaye Pattison.
Event coordinator and ILWS deputy director Associate Professor Vaughan Higgins says food security is often seen as a problem mainly for developing countries.
“Yet Australia faces significant challenges, including the rising cost of healthy food, the economic and social burden of diet-related disease, and the increasing vulnerability of food production as a consequence of climate change, less water availability and rising energy costs,” Professor Higgins said.
“These factors pose serious questions about the sustainability and equitability of food production and supply systems in Australia.”
The public debate “How can we best ensure Australia’s future food security” is the latest in CSU’s Explorations series of public lectures and is held in conjunction with National Science Week.