Page 3270 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 17 September 2013

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association to support P&C-run canteen services in public schools, to promote healthy food choices for our students and to provide access to an online ordering system.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Gentleman.

MR GENTLEMAN: Minister, how important are school canteens to ensuring a vibrant and involved school community, and how will the government assist in supporting these communities?

MS BURCH: Having an involved school community is not simply a matter of nicety but really is essential to improving the education outcomes of students. Learning does not happen just in the classroom but it also happens at home. When parents are involved in their children’s schools, the outcomes for their children are improved.

For many years now across Canberra, ACT public school canteens have been a component of a vibrant and involved school community. Viable school canteens are important to families and students. Parents appreciate the support that a school canteen can provide in contributing to the healthy eating and drinking habits of their children.

The work of the ministerial task force on canteens recognises the vibrancy and the value of school canteens and helps to plot a way forward for their continued growth into the future. With the ACT Council of P&C Associations, we have joined together to give our canteens that future. The government’s response to the recommendations of the task force is unequivocal. We support them all and are getting on with the work.

We are funding the P&C council to introduce online ordering systems, business support and purchasing support that will assist the school canteens to be financial, viable and sustainable. We are subsidising canteen managers’ training in safe food handling, hygienic practices for food safety and menu development. And we will continue to work with the task force members so that our combined work will best support the delivery of these in ACT public school canteens.

Each canteen in each school is responding to the needs of its students and its local community. I am glad that we are able to work with them in ensuring the ongoing viability of many school canteens.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Doszpot.

MR DOSZPOT: Minister, you budgeted a large amount of dollars to address these issues. Why did you not provide the $200,000 earlier—funds that were required urgently and requested urgently?

MS BURCH: We have provided $200,000 to the ACT P&C council, and I would just draw Mr Doszpot’s attention to the fact that he did not support that offering of funds to the P&C council.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Ms Porter.

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