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Food security among asylum seekers in Melbourne
journal contributionposted on 2023-03-01, 22:39 authored by Fiona McKayFiona McKay, Matthew DunnMatthew Dunn
OBJECTIVES: This research explores food insecurity among asylum seekers who are members of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) in Melbourne, Australia. METHODS: Structured person-assisted questionnaires were conducted with 56 asylum seekers. The questionnaires examined issues around access to food, cultural appropriateness of available food, transport issues, use of the ASRC Foodbank and questions about general health. RESULTS: Findings suggest that: 1) almost all asylum seekers in this study were food insecure; 2) most of the asylum seekers using the ASRC Foodbank have no access to food other than that provided at the centre; and 3) the reason that most asylum seekers are food insecure is related to structural problems associated with limitations imposed by different visas. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: The ability of asylum seekers to achieve food security is limited by their restricted access to welfare and government or work-related income. Given that the current policy situation is likely to continue, providers such as the ASRC will find continuing demands on their services and increasing pressures to provide more than a 'supplemental' food supply.