Introduction: the food security problem in Australia
Farmar-Bowers, Q and Higgins, V and Millar, J, Introduction: the food security problem in Australia, Food security in Australia: challenges and prospects for the future, Springer, Farmar-Bowers Quentin, Higgins Vaughan, Millar Joanne (ed), United States, pp. 476. ISBN 978-1461444831 (2012) [Research Book Chapter]
Copyright 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York
The purpose of this book is to critically examine food security issues in Austral-ia, a country that is often assumed to be food secure. Australia, although a sub-stantial producer of agricultural products, currently has many citizens suffering food insecurity (Temple 2008) and a growing number with diet-related health problems (AIHW 2010). Governments see diet issues as important social and economic problems because: ‘Many diet-related chronic diseases ....are the ma-jor cause of death and disability among Australians ....Poor nutrition is respon-sible for around 16% of the total burden of disease and is implicated in more than 56% of all deaths in Australia’ (NHMRC 2011a p 7). In addition to health-related food insecurities, a range of other pressures impact increasingly on the cost of food as well as its production. For example, globalization exposes food supply systems in Australia to rising resource prices as world demand increases. Australia’s agricultural production is not immune to the negative aspects of cli-mate change. Indeed Garnaut maintains that Australian agricultural and re-source industries are likely to be affected profoundly by climate change and the global response to it (Garnaut 2010 p9). Economic and population growth, changing attitudes to biodiversity conservation, and the pressure of climate change on native biodiversity (Lindenmayer et al. 2010), also have implications for food security by increasing competition for resources, such as land and water (Alston and Whittenbury 2011; Carey et al. 2011). Consequently, the food pro-duction status of Australia will change and food security, including dietary is-sues, is likely to become increasingly important for Australians. In order to con-textualize Australia’s food security challenges, and how a more sustainable, re-silient and equitable food system might be created, we need an appreciation of global food security issues.