MEDIA RELEASE - January 28, 2016
As children across the State head back to school today, Member for Balmain, Jamie Parker MP, blasted the delay in updating NSW public school canteen guidelines as indefensible.
“The start of the school year is the perfect opportunity to put a new broom through the dusty, old canteen guidelines,” said Mr Parker.
“NSW has fallen behind and as a consequence is failing the health of children now and in the future. To be so out of step with national and international standards is unacceptable, and raises questions whether the government is under the thumb of “big sugar” companies.
“Not only is the long-term health of children at stake, but their ability to concentrate during school hours is jeopardised when products with added sugar are still available for kids to buy in school canteens.
“Each time I have raised this issue with the Minister, his staff or department officials, I have been told that a working group is looking at reviewing the 2003 NSW guidelines to align with the 2013 national guidelines. Another year has started and the delay is simply insupportable.
“Parents trust that their child’s school is doing the right thing, yet it is not fair for the burden to fall entirely on school administrators or P&C-run canteens when the mandatory guidelines are out of date and not enforced.
“It is almost two years since the Department started their review and it is time for the Minister to lead on an issue that has immediate and long-term benefits for children, teachers and parents.
“I will continue to encourage signatures on the petition calling for Parliament to undertake an open and public review of the NSW Healthy Schools Canteen Strategy to bring it into line with the 2013 Australian dietary guidelines, reduce added sugar in school canteens and prioritise the long-term health of children. Bringing this important matter to the floor of Parliament may be the only way to see real action,” said Mr Parker.
For further comment from Jamie Parker: 9660 7586 or 9660 7586