News

Are backpackers taking food from the needy?

FED UP: Gavin Tronc is concerned that backpackers are misusing food services meant for the poor.
FED UP: Gavin Tronc is concerned that backpackers are misusing food services meant for the poor. Crystal Jones

A BUNDABERG man is concerned that a service meant for the region's poorest people is being abused by backpackers.

Gavin Tronc said he bears no ill will towards backpackers, but is concerned they may be taking food they don't need from Andy's Place, a "soup kitchen" on Barolin St.

"They're bleeding the system in Bundaberg when it should be for the homeless," he said.

"They might not be well-off, but they're not at the point where they're starving."

Mr Tronc said he was shocked by reports there had been three tables of eight backpackers at a recent free dinner held for the poor.

"They should have the backing to support themselves," he said.

"It just seems it's getting worse and worse.

"Apparently they do it in every city they go and it's getting bad to that point."

Mr Tronc said the discussion had started on Facebook after someone commented on how many backpackers used the meal service.

"With something like that, it should be discussed by the public, not just on Facebook," he said.

A representative of Andy's Place was contacted, but a response had not come by the time of print.

The issue, it seems, has not been limited to the Bundaberg region, but seems to be playing out as a national topic.

WA Today reported German backpackers had been taking meals from a soup kitchen for the homeless in Perth.

The backpackers were given soup and bags of bread, according to the paper, and sent on their way.

Irish Central also reported cases of backpackers queuing for food in a Perth soup kitchen.

In this case, backpackers were told to go away and only return if there was food left over after the homeless had eaten.

The publication claimed the cost of feeding backpackers was around $30,000 a year for the Manna Inc soup kitchen.

Concerns have also been raised by the Salvation Army who said some backpackers had taken to begging in the streets of Melbourne to subsidise their travel plans.

Topics:  backpackers bundaberg homeless soup kitchen



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