MAJOR fast food outlets in Canberra will be required to display the kilojoules content of food products on menu boards as of January, 2013.
The Greens’ Bill gained support of the Legislative Assembly this morning with some amendments to the timing of the legislation’s implementation.
Currently, the Council of Australian Government is working on a national reform for food regulation that was expected to be delivered to Governments last month.
Greens Health spokesperson Amanda Bresnan said 250 letters were sent out to various fast food outlets in Canberra plus consultation with key health groups Dieticians Association of Australia, Heart Foundation, Australian National Preventive Health Agency, Public Health Association and Health Care Consumers Association.
“NSW already has similar laws for fast food outlets to display the kilojoule content in at least the same font size as the price on each of their food items,” she said.
“This Bill will bring the ACT in-line with its neighbour and looks to build on the NSW model. Other States, including SA, are considering similar legislation.”
However the Opposition voted against the legislation, despite agreeing with the intent of the Bill.
“We agree with the intent of what is trying to be achieved here nationally and through the COAG process, but what we are seeing today is something that even Katy Gallagher doesn’t agree with and that’s the implementation of separate judicial legislation,” Liberal spokesperson Jeremy Hanson said.
“As Katy Gallagher said today, it’s crazy to have different legislation across eight different jurisdictions.
“That’s the fact of what’s occurring today. I find it extraordinary that Katy Gallagher voted for this.
“It’s not the intent of what is trying to be achieved it’s a matter of trying to get out ahead of COAG, which is going to cause problems for small business.”
Ms Bresnan said there was a concern about the legislation from Kingsley’s Chicken.
“We were happy to talk to them, unfortunately the owner went overseas at the time,” she said.
“As I mentioned, there is a provision in the Bill that if there is a concern, of course, that can be considered.”
Chief MInister Katy Gallagher said the Government worked closely with the Greens to ensure the Bill was workable and enforceable and “will reap the kind of benefit that we want and need for our community.”
“The Government was concerned that the national guidelines on point-of-sale information have not yet been finalised and had wanted to wait to see that process complete,” she said.
“This has not occurred, and that is unfortunate. The Government was also concerned that the Greens had not consulted as broadly as we would have, before introducing legislation of this nature.
“Whilst I understand that, subsequent to the Bill’s introduction, the Greens commenced targeted consultation with industry and some public health groups, and I commend Ms Bresnan for her efforts, it is the view of this Government that such consultation should be inclusive of the entire community, particularly as it is likely that the entire community will be affected by the proposals in the Bill.”
The legislation will require the Minister for Health to review of the legislation after three years and consider whether salt, fat and carbohydrates should be included in mandatory display information.
13 traditional fast food outlet:
Kingsley’s Chicken, KFC, Pizza Hut,McDonald’s, Oporto, Red Rooster, Hungry Jacks,Domino’s, Ali Baba, Eagle Boys Pizza, Nandos, Subway, Sumo Salad.
Michel’s Patisserie, Brumby’s Bakeries, Muffin Break, Donut King, Gloria Jean’s Coffees,Bakers Delight, The Cheesecake Shop, The Coffee Club, Boost Juice, Wendy’s.
Three supermarkets (for hot chickens, salads and breads):
Coles, IGA, Woolworths.
Two petrol stations:
The following businesses are close to being captured by the legislation, but don’t meet the quotas for outlet numbers (seven locally or 50 nationally):
Crust – about 45 nationally, Hoyts – about 45 nationally, Greater Union – about 40 nationally, Sizzle Bento – six locally.