Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 5 Hansard (8 May) . . Page.. 1704 ..
MR PRATT (continuing):
ramming it down our children's throats. Let our children grow with their innocence. They need to grow up first before they can be mature to tackle this. Otherwise, I applaud the report.
Mr Corbell: I think Jacqui got rolled in the party room.
MR STEFANIAK(12.17): No, Mr Corbell. Mrs Burke has well and truly made her point of view in this matter. There are a number of issues that I find very good. I am pleased to see issues of diet come up and also some of the steps and issues the committee looked at in relation to outside the school, around the home and encouraging people to have basic, user-friendly activities, design things better and walk and use bicycles better. All of that is good stuff.
I see the hand of Ms Tucker in a lot of suggestions that this or that should be funded, which I think would cause any government, even a profligate Labor government, concern as to how much can actually be funded. I would suggest to the government that, when considering this report, some things obviously need to be funded, but they need to be sure they are getting good value for them.
Obesity and the health of children are real problems. The report quite properly points out a significant increase, and there are a lot of factors in that. One of the most basic is that 20, 30, or 40 years ago, kids would walk everywhere or ride their bikes everywhere. It might surprise Ms Tucker, but I was not particularly competitive in sport until I was about 14 or 15. I played Aussie Rules as a seven-year-old, and some kid came and kicked the ball out of my hand so I wasn't much good at that. I played a bit of hockey.
I recall that then people walked a lot more; we rode a lot more. In the modern age people simply live too far away or perhaps some parents fear for the safety of their children out in the streets. We are not the quiet little country town we used to be. All those factors play large, and anything that you do to get people to walk more and exercise more in the most basic way is to be applauded.
There are, however, other things that come to light here. One thing I would suggest in terms of some of the suggestions for what should be funded is that the government improve structures and in many instances ensure that managers ensure that people underneath them do their own jobs properly. I would suggest that a number of concerns raised here by individuals could well be overcome if people adopted a slightly different way to go about their jobs.
I come to recommendation 5. I do not know if I am misrepresenting Ms Tucker, or if she is misrepresenting me. Let's just look at the facts. She quite rightly quotes the Senate report where it shows great concern about the decline in physical activity and physical education in schools. It was becoming a joke under the Follett government where, in some primary schools, there was no physical activity or about 40 minutes a week. Physical education teachers in high schools were pulling their hair out, and groups like ACTSport were very concerned indeed.
Schools have a crowded curriculum so, if you do not mandate a certain amount of time it will not happen. In late 1995 we mandated 150 minutes of physical activity a week in government schools from kindergarten to year 10. As a result of our consultations,