Schools in need can apply for free meals

Children at school tuckshop. | Newsreel
The Queensland Government will provide more than $10 million directly to schools to provide free meals for students. | Photo: Sol Stock (iStock)

Queensland schools will need to lodge expressions of interest to access new funding to provide free student meals.

Next month’s State budget will include a $15 million boost to the School and Community Food Relief Program.

Premier Steve Miles said direct support would be provided to schools in communities experiencing high cost of living pressures and food insecurity.

“This will help to provide Queensland kids with free school breakfast and lunch, expanded healthy snack programs or other initiatives that support the health and wellbeing of students,” Premier Miles said.

Of the $15 million pledge, $10.65 million will be distributed direct to schools to support food programs through an expression of interest process.

Premier Miles said the expression of interest process would confirm community need and the school’s capacity to deliver the program.

“Funding can be used by schools without existing programs to purchase food and drinks, equipment to support their breakfast or lunch programs, or schools can use the funding to expand existing programs to include healthy snack breaks,” he said.

Schools were also able to engage a part-time food coordinator for up to 10 hours a week to assist with delivery of the program in the first year.

The package also provides $1.3 million to support food and nutrition education to families of school aged children and $3 million to support healthy food and drink initiatives generated by a School and Community Food Taskforce.

$500 000 will be shared between five organisations, Y-Care, Fuel for Schools, Hope Centre Services, Scripture Union Service and New Creation Christian Church, to deliver healthy food and drink programs to 253 Queensland state schools.

Premier Miles said the School and Community Food Taskforce, with cross-sector membership, would meet on June 5 to provide advice on options to support access to healthy food and drink for Queensland families.