Page 1713 - Week 05 - Thursday, 11 May 2017

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Active lifestyle

Discussion of matter of public importance

MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ms Cody): Madam Speaker has received letters from Ms Cheyne, Ms Cody, Mr Coe, Mrs Dunne, Ms Lee, Mr Milligan, Ms Orr, Mr Parton, Mr Pettersson, Mr Steel and Mr Wall proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly. In accordance with standing order 79, Madam Speaker has determined that the matter proposed by Mr Parton be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

The importance of an active lifestyle to the health of the ACT community.

MR PARTON (Brindabella) (3.54): How wonderful that we can stand here and talk about something that most of us essentially agree on. I rise to speak on this matter of public importance: the importance of an active lifestyle to the health of the ACT community. I believe passionately that it is the case. Territory and state budgets across this country are being squeezed more by the bottom line for health spending than by anything else. The reality is that if we could just convince another five per cent of the population to adopt a more healthy lifestyle, the effect on the health budget here in the ACT would be astounding.

I think it is so important for those of us in the Assembly to set a good example for the rest of the community by talking up the benefits of healthy active lifestyles but also walking the walk. I think that, where possible, we need to show by example that it is possible to have a very busy work life but still to find the time to move more and generally look after yourself. Indeed, I commend you, Madam Assistant Speaker, for taking part in the half marathon, for getting out there and telling the story; Ms Lee, who continues to walk pretty much every centimetre of Kurrajong; Ms Cheyne for getting out there and doing her bit; and many who are not here in the chamber but who are getting out and actually walking the walk.

According to the Heart Foundation, walking for up to 30 minutes a day, five days a week, may increase life expectancy by up to three years. On top of that, being active every day not only improves your long-term health; it also reduces your risk of heart attack, gives you more energy, improves your cholesterol levels, lowers blood pressure and helps you to sleep better at night.

I am a 50-year-old man. When l was elected to this place, I heard about the so-called elected members’ curse, whereby many elected members would put on five to 10 kilograms during their first term of office. I vowed not to be a part of that group. My wife and I have embarked on a sustained program of healthier eating and much more movement.

I participated in the Cycle Works Challenge through Pedal Power in April. As part of that, I cycled nearly 700 kilometres in the month of April. Luisa and I have gone about finding the Canberra hills that need to be climbed and climbing them. We have climbed Mount Taylor, Mount Ainslie, Mount Majura, Tuggeranong Hill and Gibraltar Rocks, and there are more to come. I cannot wait for Mount Tennent.

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