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Monday, 22 March 2004
Page: 26751

Mr QUICK (1:42 PM) —Why do many in this House today support this motion regarding the World Food Program and why has the member for McPherson raised it in the House today? I would like to think that it is part of our social conscience to raise many of these issues which are not necessarily up there in our faces in the media at the moment. It is rather appalling that, despite the belief to the contrary, there is enough food in the world today for every man, woman and child to lead a healthy and productive life and yet, unfortunately, hunger is still dispersed around the whole world.

Some people in their speeches on this topic have mentioned some of the statistics: let me give you some appalling ones. According to the UN, nowadays hunger afflicts one out of every seven people on earth—more than 800 million people. Each day 24,000 people die from hunger and related causes. Around the world 77 million people were sustained by World Food Program food initiatives in 2001. The frightening thing is that 78 per cent of those were women and children.

The World Food Program's vision is a world in which everyone has access at all times to the nourishment they need for a full and sustainable life. WFP believes that the issue of hunger belongs at the top of the international agenda. At present, the war against terrorism has centre stage in most international forums. In the case of Iraq, the agency will bring some 2.5 million tonnes of food aid into Iraq during the next six months, at a total cost of $US1.735 billion. That is the biggest challenge in the agency's 40-year history. I am pleased to say that Australia has donated $US3.8 million to Iraq's reconstruction.

The SPEAKER —Order! It being 1.45 p.m., the debate is interrupted in accordance with standing order 101. The debate may be resumed at a later hour and the member will have leave to continue speaking when the debate is resumed.