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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 7 Hansard (6 August) . .

Page.. 2129..

rising levels of overweight and obesity lie beyond the traditional reach of the health sector. The action plan outlines a whole-of-government approach to address this issue. The government is investing $3.6 million over four years under the healthy weight action plan to combat rates of overweight and obesity in the ACT.

The action plan funding will provide for a variety of activities across the community. Government is working to make the healthy choice the easy choice. The action plan builds on action previously taken across the ACT government. In 2008 the ACT government signed up to the national partnership agreement on preventive health, with the Australian government committing to provide the ACT with $8.76 million between 2010 and 2018. The partnership agreement funded the delivery of five different initiatives: healthy children, healthy workers, healthy communities, social marketing and enabling infrastructure.

However, without notice the federal government in this year's budget ceased the prevention program, costing the ACT over $3.5 million in facilitation payments and an additional $2.5 million in reward payments. The fresh taste healthy school program was launched this February in public schools and is starting to be rolled out in the Catholic education sector. Many programs will continue this year with remaining funds from the commonwealth and investment from the ACT government.

In 2009-10 the ACT government supplemented the national partnership agreement funding by allocating $11 million in the ACT budget over three years for the healthy futures initiative, which addressed a range of initiatives aimed at preventing or reducing risk factors for chronic disease. As a result of this injection of funds into prevention, the ACT government has committed to a range of programs and initiatives to halt the rising rates of obesity and overweight. These initiatives are implemented in partnership with the academic community, non-government organisations in both the public and private sectors and across a range of government directorates.

An example of an innovative program being run for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is the beyond today campaign. This campaign was designed with the community to focus on tobacco and alcohol reduction as well as providing education and support for healthy eating and increased physical activity to reduce obesity in this group. In the coming months the reach and presence of this campaign will grow.

As a further commitment by the government to reducing the burden of overweight and obesity, in July 2013 the Chief Minister announced that the ACT government had redirected the focus of the ACT health promotion grants program towards projects that aim to reduce the incidence of obesity, particularly amongst children in the ACT. The ACT health promotion grants program has been in place since 2006 and currently expends around $2.1 million annually. The program funds a wide range of useful health promotion activities and is a resource which is valued by the ACT community.

The grants program now focuses on tackling obesity and improving children's health. There are now two funding opportunities under the program. The largest is the healthy Canberra grants, which allocates about 90 per cent of available funding or currently around $2 million each year in multi-year grants. The aim of these multi-year grants is to provide sufficient time and funding to achieve sustained behaviour change and improved health outcomes at the population level.

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