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Tired government devoid of original ideas.

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Nicola Roxon MP Shadow Minister for Health MEDIA RELEASE

Tired government devoid of original ideas

Labor’s Shadow Minister for Health Nicola Roxon today received further confirmation that the Howard Government was incapable of developing innovative and original policies to tackle Australia’s future health challenges.

“In May I wrote to Health Minister Tony Abbott to express my concerns about the Government’s intention to develop a children’s diet book, highlighting the need to be very careful about the messages we send to both children and parents about their eating patterns.

“Now it seems that the Government have taken Labor’s concerns on board.

“Contrary to pre-Budget media statements by Education Minister Julie Bishop that the CSIRO would be provided with $2 million to develop a children’s version of their best-selling Total Wellbeing Diet, I have now received a letter from Ministers Abbott and Bishop confirming that ‘the CSIRO Wellbeing Plan for Children will not be about dieting for weight loss’ and is ‘not intended to target overweight or obese children but will promote healthy eating and exercise for all Australian families.’

According to the letter, Labor’s more sensible focus on developing healthy lifestyles, including good nutrition and regular exercise - rather than harmful messages about dieting - will now also be the Government’s approach.

“The Government’s stated intention to ‘encourage children to adopt lifelong healthy eating behaviour’ is welcomed by Labor - after all, it was Labor’s policies which prompted this sudden interest from the Government!

“The two programs announced in the Budget - the CSIRO Wellbeing Plan for Children and $1million in funding for the Health Department to come up with a Wellbeing Plan for Children looked suspiciously like they’d had inspiration directly from Labor’s New Directions for Australian Children plan - announced in April.

“Yet again the Howard Government is playing catch up, copying Labor’s ideas,” said Ms Roxon. “It’s a tired Government and a tired Health Minister, devoid of original ideas of its own.”

Monday 16 July 2007

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