Page 1375 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 9 May 2006

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Members interjecting—

MR BARR: Rather than a punitive approach, the department’s consultation has confirmed the benefits of an educative approach, Mrs Dunne, where staff and students are fully informed of the facts relating to poor diet.

With the new canteen policy, schools will need to gain canteen accreditation by 2009. The accreditation process ensures that school canteens are committed to the principles of promoting healthy choices. Since 2004, the department has been developing the accreditation program in partnership with the National Heart Foundation. The program sets criteria at three levels: bronze, silver and gold. The new canteen policy will expect that all government schools will be accredited at the bronze level. Over time, as school communities seek to aim for a higher award, the program will support them to meet this target.

At the bronze level, the program does not ban all soft drinks and sweets; rather, the bronze level accreditation will ensure that all government school canteens provide a range of health foods and limit the sales of foods high in fat, sugar and salt. This approach is based on nationally recognised Australian guidelines for healthy eating. With all government schools operating at the bronze level by 2009, students will be able to purchase healthy bread, milk, fruit and vegetables from the school canteen each day that it operates. Also, if the school has a vending machine, it is not to contain just soft drinks, chips and confectionery but some more healthy alternatives.

It is only if school communities wish to aim higher and seek silver accreditation that the school canteen is to be free of soft drinks. If a school community wants to gain the top level of gold accreditation, the school canteen, in addition to not selling soft drinks, will not sell high-fat and sweet snack lines. The new policy does not prohibit the sale of food such as chocolates as fundraisers. The policy asks schools to avoid, through fundraising, the promotion of foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar. Schools are provided with alternative ideas for fundraising activities that are consistent with the whole-of-school approach to education.

Another important factor in this accreditation process is that the school curriculum and promoting health foods and food hygiene practices in schools are also covered. This approach is the result of an extensive consultation and joint collaboration with the National Heart Foundation and is being supported by our school communities and their canteen managers.

Ultimately, it needs to be said that schools alone cannot be responsible for ensuring that students maintain healthy lifestyles. Schools have an important role to play in ensuring healthy eating habits, but it is only in partnership with parents that we can succeed. This policy allows parents and schools to make decisions together about how best to tackle these issues.

Budget—functional and strategic review

MR PRATT: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, when you announced your proposals to restructure the ACT public service you emphasised the savings that

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