Motion rejected for healthier foods in schools

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THE ACT government and the Canberra Liberals have refused to support healthier foods options for schools and hospitals, despite climate impacts, according to the ACT Greens.

Greens MLA Caroline Le Couteur says at a time of climate emergency, the science is clear, and Canberra should consider the impacts of consumption across the board, including food and diet options.

ACT Greens MLA Caroline Le Couteur

“Providing more plant-based options means reducing the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to a warming planet, in step with climate science,” she says.

“The Greens are disappointed that today (August 21) ACT Labor has sided with the Canberra Liberals rather than choosing to practically improve the number of healthy options available for young kids, those recovering in hospital, and other Canberrans who are increasingly health and climate conscious.

“Given that children are becoming more aware of climate issues and many teenagers are choosing to be vegetarian, parents want to know that their children can access a balanced vegetarian meal when at school.

“Families of patients at hospitals want to know that while their loved one is recovering, they’ll be provided with a healthy plant-based meal option if that’s what they choose, aiding their recovery.

“It’s really unclear why Labor, in particular would refuse to back simple, practical measures for more healthy food options at schools, hospitals and other venues.

“Some schools and other sites are already making the switch to plant-based food options, so we know it won’t be hard to spread these activities around.”

The ACT Greens called on the ACT government to:

  • require all school canteens to provide plant-based food options for students (not just meat pies and sausage rolls).
  • ensure all school students studying “health and wellbeing” in primary school and “food technology” in high school study the environmental, ethical and human health implications of food choices in an age-appropriate way.
  • support more school food gardens, where students can grow their own fruits and veggies.
  • Make plant-based foods the “default” meal option in hospitals.
  • Update “health promotion programs” to better support plant-based foods.
  • Consider planting fruit and nut trees on public land.
  • Ensure all ACT government events include plant-based food options in a sufficient quantity.

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