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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 11 Hansard (25 September) . . Page.. 3252 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

National data indicates that obesity in school-age children is increasing at a significant rate. Certainly, as I have indicated, our schools take this problem very seriously and, to that end, health and physical education programs in schools aim to give students the knowledge and practical skills to meet these needs and develop a good quality of life. School programs in the ACT public education system include dietary intake and the promotion of physical activity to improve the health of school-age children. Some schools run school-based breakfast programs to help improve dietary intake. Kootara Well at Narrabundah Primary School is a great example of this.

Schools also aim to provide a range of healthy foods at school canteens. The government is already working in schools through the ACT Community Affairs' tougher talk in schools program to encourage healthy food choices. This has been supported through a HealthPact grant. In addition, the ACT Canteen Coalition is attempting to implement a canteen accreditation program whereby school canteens and staff receive rewards by selling healthy food choices. HealthPact provides funding to schools through its ACT school canteen project with the aim of improving the variety and nutritional value of foods sold in ACT school canteens.

So as you can see, there is a wide range of initiatives in place, all working towards the issue of addressing child health and physical fitness issues in our schools and seeking to counteract the significant increase in the rates of childhood obesity. There are no simple solutions; there is no magic bullet. But there is a diversity of responses already in place and the government will seek to enhance those, build on those and make them even better once we have heard the response of the Assembly inquiry.

Mr Deputy Speaker, I would now like to move an amendment to Mr Pratt's motion. I move:

Omit all words after "Assembly", substitute the following:

"(1) Notes that the ACT Government has deferred further policy action relating to the Health and Physical Fitness Assessment program until after the Assembly inquiry into the Health of School Children in the ACT has reported to the Assembly; and

(2) Once the Assembly Inquiry has reported the ACT Government will move to develop an integrated policy response which includes the increasing problem of childhood obesity.".

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Has the amendment been circulated?

MR CORBELL: Not yet, Mr Deputy Speaker.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: The amendment will be circulated while the next speaker is speaking.

MS TUCKER (5.21): I foreshadow that I will be supporting Mr Corbell's amendment. As chair of the Standing Committee on Health, I would point out that the committee is looking specifically at this question. Obviously, the Assembly supported the reference to the committee of an inquiry into these questions.

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