04. Nutrition Australia ACT Incorporated (ACT Nutrition Support Service)

Please provide a brief summary of your suggestion.As a current ACT Government service provider, Nutrition Australia ACT Inc (NAACT) is strongly committed to the health of the Canberra community. Considering the current poor dietary intakes and rates of overweight and obesity within the ACT population, NAACT strongly recommends the continuation of ongoing ACT Government budgetary support for an overarching nutrition advocacy service (ACT Nutrition Support Service). This service acts as an interface between the policies and priorities of the ACT government, supporting strategic directions within the preventative health strategy, and the ACT population.
What services do you believe are most important for the Territory?

NAACT strongly supports the ACT Government's initiative to develop strategic directions for improving health of all Canberrans.

The ACT Territory CHO report 2016 identifies healthy weight and healthy eating as priorities for a Healthy Canberra. As the peak body of nutrition education in the ACT, NAACT is well placed to facilitate a coordinated, multifactorial approach to public health nutrition education and support to meet these identified priorities.

This can be achieved via the continuation and expansion of the ACT Nutrition Support Service comprising the key action areas:

1. Legislation, policy and guidelines - Support the development and review associated with ACT Government Food and Drink policies and translation thereof within the community.

2. Community connections - Support relationship with ACT community including stakeholders, partners and established networks

3. Cultural diversity - enhance the ACTNSS to extend into broader cultural diverse settings such as the Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm.

4. Communication - utilise multiple communication channels including the established ACTNSS website, social media platforms, subscriber services (regular newsletters) and investigation into expansion of innovative communication strategies. This will ensure positive engagement with the wider ACT community maintaining motivation for healthy behavioural change.

5. Education knowledge and skills - Translation of evidence based nutrition education within the school community via curriculum support utilizing classroom resources and teacher professional development, for example Food&ME Nutrition Education as developed by NAACT and; provision of effective mentoring and professional development opportunities for non-Government organisations (NGOs) and community sectors to allow them to further engage with and successfully reflect the priorities of ACT government and strategic partners.

6. Environment- Provide expertise to influence healthy food environments in line with "Healthier Choices Canberra". This will influence and support the general public to make the healthy the easy choice.

How can the Government deliver current services more efficiently and productively or to better meet the needs of Canberrans?

NAACT strongly supports a coordinated preventative health approach to population health service delivery across all ACT government directorates, NGOs and industry.
This service would offer:

(1) A systematic approach to provide consistent evidence based messaging and policy.

(2) A whole of community focus in reducing risk of chronic disease incidence and prevalence amongst population groups. This approach should be based on building resilience and self-efficacy amongst individuals and population groups.

(3) Leadership, advocacy and expertise for the translation of government policies and frameworks into community services, education and action.

Are there particular services that you consider the Government should stop delivering or should deliver in a different way?

NAACT is looking forward to the results of recent consultation around preventative health to be put into framework strategies and action.

As part of the drive towards 'Healthier Canberra' an innovative approach towards coordination of translating policy into practice across all sectors of the ACT is required. This will ensure current and future health campaigns are effective in engaging with the wider community. Such an approach needs to include:

- Dissemination of consistent and broadly effective health messaging in a coordinated manner that will reach the targeted community groups.

- Greater understanding of health literacy and update of health behaviours with a focus on food and nutrition across the ACT community via research and ongoing monitoring.

Are there any new ways to generate revenue and/or services you consider that the community should make a direct contribution to (a fee for service)?NAACT currently offers user pay services (seminars, cooking demonstrations) of which workplaces and community organisations may utilise according to their needs. Where applicable workplaces and organisations are encouraged to budget for specific nutrition services to meet their needs as part of their overarching health and wellbeing programs.
What can the Government do to make Canberra even more liveable?The ACT Government has a responsibility to create and sustain a healthy food environment that promotes a healthy eating culture - supporting a healthier Canberra. A healthier population is more likely to enjoy and embrace the many benefits of living in Canberra.