(12.30pm, Monday 29 July 2013, Martin Place)
Thank you, Stuart [Gregor, MC] and welcome, everyone. I'd like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders. I also acknowledge the people of 200 nations who live in our City.
I'd also like to welcome today:
- The Hon Robyn Parker, NSW Minister for Environment and Heritage
- Therese Rein - Patron of OzHarvest
I'd also like to salute Ronnie Kahn, the founder and inspirational CEO of OzHarvest, who've partnered with the United Nations Environment Program to produce this event.
Yet every year, we Australians throw out almost $8 billion worth of food.
That equals about 345 kg of food wasted for every Australian family at a cost of just over $1,000 a year per family.
We're producing enough food each year to feed about 60 million people. But we're putting four million tonnes of it into landfill, even while we have people who are going hungry.
We can't afford to go on doing this. We can't afford it in terms of the social injustice that it is, and we can't afford it in terms of the environmental vandalism that it is.
OzHarvest was founded to help remedy that situation, taking unwanted food, food that otherwise would go to landfill, and turning it into healthy and tasty meals to deliver to people in need.
It's an outstanding example of what the vision and determination of one person can achieve, and it is the very deserving recipient of this year's United Nations Environment Award for Community.
We all need to think about what you can do to reduce this shameful and environmentally destructive waste.
I'd like to pay tribute to Ronnie and to the chefs and hundreds of fantastic OzHarvest volunteers who made Feeding the 5000 possible, and to formally declare the event open.