ACT Labor investing in healthy Canberra kids

CM_CB_Refill Web

On average, Canberrans are the best educated, best paid and healthiest people in Australia. We live the longest, our mortality rates are low, immunisation rates are high and we have good quality air, water and food.

ACT Labor continues to invest at record levels in our health system. Right now we are investing over $1 billion to maintain our high standard of health and community care, building a modern health system that is even stronger for the future.

The health and wellbeing of all Canberrans is our priority and investing in our children in the developing years with targeted preventative health measures means every child has the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Harnessing the potential of promoting healthy lifestyles in the school environment is a tried and tested formula.  When we invest in the early years and promote healthy eating and exercise targeted at our kids, we see the benefits for years to come.

But there is more to do.

ACT Labor wants to improve the health and wellbeing of every student in Canberra and a good starting place is to look at what our kids are consuming at school every day.

We know that when you reduce the consumption of sugary drinks and increase consumption of water, there are a range of health benefits to kids, including better oral health, reducing obesity and reducing the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

If re-elected in 2012 ACT Labor will establish a $500,000 fund to install water bottle refill stations and supply reusable drink bottles to any school that agrees to end the sale of sugary drinks in their school.

Our aim is to completely phase out sugary drinks in ACT primary schools within five years and improve the health of all children.

 

Policy costings

ACT Labor will make available $500,000 over four years to establish a fund for all schools who agree to phase out the sale of sugary drinks.

 

ACT Labor’s plan to invest in healthier Canberra kids

 

2013 – 2014

2014 -2015

2015 – 2016

2016 – 2017

TOTAL

Capital

$0.093m

$0.093m

$0.093m

$0.093m

$0.372m

Recurrent

$0.031m

$0.031m

$0.031m

$0.031m

$0.124m

Total

$0.124m

$0.124m

$0.124m

$0.124m

$0.496m

 

How will it work?

Government and non-government schools, whether it be primary school, high school or college will be eligible to apply for funding of up to $15,000 to install up to 2 water refill stations and supply re-usable water bottles for each student.

The aim is to phase out the sale of all sugary drinks (like soft drinks, flavoured milk, juices and slushies) in all primary schools by the end of 2017.

The ACT Labor Government has just launched the first of five water refill stations being provided in schools as a trial.  We believe that with the latest evidence provided in the ACT Chief Health Officer’s Report, that ending the sale of sugary drinks in our schools is now a priority.

We have already developed and begun implementing this simple, practical measure to increase the consumption of water in schools by providing free, chilled and filtered water to students.

By making the funding available for schools to show initiative in improving student health, ACT Labor wants to use the opportunity provided by this early introduction of the innovative water stations, to start the phase out of sugary drinks in school canteens. This is a simple, but positive step towards improving the health of every Canberra student.

 

Why is it so important?

We know that 15% of kindergarten children in the ACT in 2010 were measured as overweight or obese, an increase from 12.8% in 2008. We also know that by the time kids reach year 6, that figure climbs to 25%.

In Australia, 41% of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are overweight and obese. By 2020, it is expected that as many as 15,000 – 20,000 Canberrans will have diabetes – an increase of 50% on 2005 levels.

By increasing the consumption of water, and through educational programs already in schools which promote better eating and drinking habits in our children, we can teach lifelong healthy habits. With an estimated 7,200 Australians dying each year due to obesity and related illnesses, it is critical that we address this problem in the early years. We can also reduce the long term direct and indirect costs to our health system of obesity and related illnesses which in 2008/2009 were estimated to be $37.7 billion nationally.