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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 8 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 2189..

Health—childhood obesity

MRS BURKE: My question is directed to the minister for sport and recreation. Minister, a recent survey conducted by ACT Health revealed that one in four year 6 students in the ACT is overweight. This outcome is concerning due to the health consequences of overweight children becoming overweight and obese adults.

Minister, how do you reconcile the outcome of this survey with your decisions to decrease funding for sporting and recreational grants, to increase the activities that have to be funded by sporting organisations in maintaining sportsgrounds and in redirecting funds intended to rehabilitate sportsgrounds?

MR BARR: I thank Mrs Burke for the question and for her interest in these matters. Obviously there is a very strong crossover. There is the work that occurs in the health portfolio—health promotion, particularly looking at diet and nutrition—and the other side of the equation is exercise.

I am particularly pleased that we have been able to have such a collaborative and constructive working relationship not only in my portfolios of sport, recreation and education but also with the Minister for Health and her department. I note that the Minister for Health announced—only last week, I believe—a $200,000 grant round made available to schools to promote health—not only healthy eating but also physical activity within our schools. This grant round is very closely aligned with the work that the Department of Education and Training is undertaking.

I also provided, through a second range of sports grants this financial year, an additional $75,000 targeted at particular areas within sport and recreation where we had identified less take-up of physical activity. These grants were targeted at people at risk of not fully participating in sport and recreation. One key group we targeted was youth at risk. Also, we are targeting those from non-English-speaking backgrounds.

By providing these additional targeted grants through both the health portfolio and through sport and recreation, we have been able to address some of the particular issues that have arisen within our school curriculum and school environment. It is important that we look not only at how we can bring in resources from other agencies but also at the quality of physical education programs we are offering within our schools.

I give acknowledgement to Mr Stefaniak. He as education minister put in place a process that required a certain amount of mandated time within the school curriculum to be devoted to physical education. For us looking forward the question is: what do we do to improve the quality of physical education programs in our schools? It is important—

Mrs Burke: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I was waiting for an answer. The question was: how do you reconcile the outcome of this survey with your decisions to decrease funding? I do not believe that the minister has talked about that at this stage.

MR SPEAKER: He is going into the details of the funding, I think.

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