Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 7 Hansard (17 August) . . Page.. 2366..
MS GALLAGHER (continuing):
today?"Those are ways that marketing is going whereby advertisers can infiltrate huge markets and there is an enormous capacity to influence people's decisions.
I do not think that the answer is as simple as just looking at TV advertising. I think it is a much bigger issue. I think it needs to be about truthfulness in advertising and the amount of advertising that can be relayed to children of an impressionable age. At that time the commonwealth would not agree to the resolution that the health ministers put. We did have interesting presentations from the food and grocery council and the Australian advertisers association. I have to say that both organisations have done quite a bit of work on how to improve the information getting to children and families on the content of food and to encourage children to make other choices.
The commonwealth did not agree to the resolution at this meeting, but the states and territories agreed to work together to review marketing and advertising practices concerning food and drink for children so we can broaden the situation beyond TV advertising, which I think is a good thing. We do a range of things here. I do not have time to go through it today, but we have a comprehensive program to address childhood obesity and associated health problems and the targeting of that is done between the department of education and the department of health.
The program covers a range of areas, including doing a physical activity and nutrition study, which the federal government has also decided is a good idea, whereby we have looked at 1,200 year 6 children in the ACT through a self-report questionnaire on activity, nutrition, attitudes and outcomes for those children. We will repeat that in three years time. I think it will give us some really interesting data to match up with the data that we get at kindergarten when they commence school. I have whole pages of material on all the different programs that are being run in ACT schools particularly, targeted at children in the ACT, to ensure that as a government we are addressing our responsibility to deal with some of the issue we are seeing with the obesity epidemic in the ACT.
MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (4.56): I stand to support the words of my colleagues and thank Ms Porter for raising this matter of public importance. As we have heard, the advertising of nutritionally poor foods during the times that children are watching television is a clever ploy by most fast food chains to entice children to want their products. I applaud the actions of the states and territories in lobbying the Prime Minister to regulate the advertising of junk food prior to 8.30 pm. As my colleagues have already stated, there are high levels of links with childhood obesity and adult obesity. Fast food outlets such as McDonalds also sponsor many children's sporting teams. For the Tuggeranong junior cricket teams, the player of the day receives a voucher to McDonalds. This is a direct advertising ploy to entice children to eat their food.
Many members of the opposition probably have the same view as Minister Abbott and Prime Minister Howard that it is the responsibility of parents to exercise diplomacy when it comes to what their children eat. Mr Deputy Speaker, I am a father of three. I understand that you are also a father and that many members of the opposition are parents. When your child wins a prize to have a meal at a child-friendly fast food outlet, how are you going to handle that?