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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 27 November 2014) . . Page.. 4199 ..

Health—election commitments

MS BERRY: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, as we recently passed the halfway mark for this term of the Legislative Assembly, my question relates to government election commitments in the Health portfolio. Can you please update the Assembly on progress with the election commitment of zero growth in the rates of obesity and overweight in our community?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Ms Berry for her question and for her ongoing interest in the Health portfolio and the important role it plays in the ACT community. I am very pleased to be updating the Assembly today on progress, particularly in the area of towards zero growth, our strategy to combat the numbers of people who are overweight or obese in the ACT.

Recently I have received a report from the working groups that are working across portfolios, across directorates, about all the work underway. It is a very impressive list, and I do very much thank those officers who have been really dedicated to implementing this important strategy. Whilst I think we are the only government that have a strategy like this or have a target like this, I expect that other governments, as the increasing problem of the health-related consequences of people being overweight or obese in the community become well understood, will have to adopt similar policy lines to the ones that we are using here.

In the last quarter, there has been a new healthy living web portal established. We have also been working on the ACT public schools food and drink policy, with the consultation period for that. There has also been the completion of pilot programs to build teacher skills in the delivery of quality physical education in ACT public primary schools. There have been audits of vending machines across ACT government work sites and facilities completed. The consultation process for the ACT public sector vending machine policy has been completed. Two physical activity and lifestyle modifications for ACT government employees at risk of developing diabetes and chronic diseases have commenced. The food environment implementation group was re-formed with revised membership, and meetings have been held to look at the appropriate projects there. We have conducted a successful cooking skills program at West Belconnen Child and Family Centre. There has been the development of social inclusion group community programs. An active travel framework discussion paper by the planning department includes key network mapping and policy directions developed as part of the cycle network plan, with input from TAMS, Health, Chief Minister’s, JACS and EPD.

I am very pleased to see that many other community activities and facilities over recent months have adopted the healthy living messaging in their communications, including the opening of the Gungahlin Leisure Centre, the announcement of the healthy Canberra grants, the ACT public school food and drink policy, the launch of the Canberra 100 Challenge, the opening of the Kippax bike and ride facility, and the launch of stage 3 of the Civic cycle loop.

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