Grocery Industry: support preventative health

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 30th September 2010

The Australian Food and Grocery Council has announced its support for the establishment of a new National Preventative Health Agency (NPHA), part of a bill reintroduced to Federal Parliament this week.

The National Preventative Health Agency Bill – reintroduced to Federal Parliament this week – will involve setting up a separate agency to address obesity, alcohol abuse and smoking issues with a focus on keeping people healthy rather than treating illness.

The Bill will also establish the NPHA Advisory Council – consisting of government, industry and non-government experts – to advise the on key preventative health issues.

AFGC Chief Executive Kate Carnell said for the Council to be most effective, it must have a broad representation of members from various sectors.

“It’s essential that the Council has adequate representation from industry to ensure a balanced approach to preventative health so it can provide real value to all Australians,” Ms Carnell said.

The independent agency was a key recommendation of the Government’s National Preventive Health Taskforce strategy released in September last year and is to be responsible for preventative health advertising, policy advice, health surveillance, consultation and research.

In Parliament yesterday, Health Minister Nicola Roxon said achieving “success in changing lifestyles takes a long term systematic approach informed by the latest evidence and ongoing evaluation of results”.  Ms Roxon said to achieve this, the agency “will also form partnerships with industry, as well as the community and non-governments sectors”.

Carnell said industry was looking forward to this partnership framework being reflected in the new agency.

“Australia’s food and grocery manufacturing sector has already made strong inroads in preventative health measures with a number of successful industry-based measures including front of pack food labelling, an advertising to children initiative and the reduction of salt, saturated fats and trans-fats in processed foods,” Carnell said.