Church leaders looking at ways to help people in need during the recession say supermarkets should be allowed to give away quality waste food.
Leaders of the Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian and Salvation Army Churches are behind an effort called 'Together We Can', which is encouraging congregations to better promote social services and come up with new ideas.
Spokesperson Ruby Duncan, of the Baptist Church, says suggestions include using waste food from supermarkets and restaurants to feed families in need.
Ms Duncan says supermarkets are forced to throw out quality food, rather than giving it away, because of regulations the churches believe could be over zealous.
"They put (the food) in their dumpster and people go 'dumpster-diving'.
"So, locally perhaps we can look at those constraints and talk about how we can work with the health and safety issues to release that resource."
Ms Duncan says the leaders hope some of the rules could be removed so waste food no longer ends up in rubbish bins.