The unhealthy drink ban the LNP won't cop
THE State Government's banning of a range of drink products on health grounds from hospitals was all show to hide inaction in tackling obesity in the community, according to a Sunshine Coast MP who was also deputy chair of a key parliamentary health committee.
The State Government has released a two-page list of drinks that cannot be sold, provided, advertised or promoted at a hospital outlet.
It included all soft drinks and any fruit drink with less than 99 per cent juice as well as coffees and hot chocolates with added cream and milkshakes made with ice cream.
Diet soft drinks, cordials, iced tea, sports drinks and flavoured water could only be sold in bottles 600ml or less while no juice could be sold in bottles bigger than 300ml.
Full-fat flavoured milk was restricted to 375ml serving sizes.
Parliamentary Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence committee deputy chair Mark McArdle said the government had its priorities completely wrong.
"This is a minuscule attempt to tackle an enormous problem,” he said.
"This is the nanny state at its worst.”
Data collected for the 2014-15 financial year found 64 per cent of Queenslanders were either overweight or obese with most ascribing their condition to diet or a lack of exercise.
Mr McArdle said if the sale of drinks in hospitals was such a big problem for people who generally were there infrequently for short periods of time, it should have acted four-and-a-half years ago.
"Obesity is not a new concern,” he said. "This is just over reach to make themselves glow despite their lack of initiatives,” he said.
Mr McArdle has called on the government to engage more with schools and organisations to address the issues.
He questioned what, if any, studies had been done into the impact on small business owners in hospitals and hospital auxiliaries like the ones run in Caloundra and Nambour.
Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles announced in August last year the state would lead the development of a nutritional standards guideline which he hoped would eventually be adopted nationally.
It also planned to tackle out-of-home advertising of unhealthy drink products in government space including hospitals and schools.
The government has set a goal of increasing the number of Queenslanders with a healthy body weight by 10 per cent by 2026.