Industry players have called on WA Deputy Premier and Health Minister, the Honorable Roger Cook, to adopt a more consultative approach to his office’s dealings with industry after all non-alcoholic beverages companies were barred from participating in the State’s highly anticipated, inaugural Preventative Health Summit which is due to take place on Friday.
‘In the words of the Minister’s office, it is difficult to “share ideas from experts and the community about ways to improve the health of Western Australians” and “encourage broader thinking and community engagement” when so many key players have been omitted from this important discussion,’ said Mr Geoff Parker, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Beverages Council.
‘From previous experience, the most successful health programs have been developed in tri-partite collaboration between government, public health groups and industry.’
Both the highly successful Health Star Rating and the Healthy Food Partnership were formed out of open dialogue with key stakeholders.
‘We support the crucial work of state and territory health ministers from across the nation in their efforts to reduce obesity and chronic diseases. We are particularly supportive of Minister Cook’s efforts to improve the health of Western Australians, but it is crucial that this mission involves industry players in order for it to be successful.’
‘It is particularly crucial that industry is involved in summits such as this when “The outcomes…will help the State Government and the community achieve better long-term health outcomes” and when the Summit will “inform the Sustainable Health Review” which was established in June 2017,’ said Mr Parker.
‘The Minister has very rightly pointed out that “We can’t do it [reduce and prevent obesity] alone” and so it is incumbent on the Minister to involve those who have a stake in developing a sustainable Health plan for WA into the future.’
The Australian Beverages Council’s Members in both WA and from other parts of Australia have expressed dismay at the lack of communication and consultation between the Minister’s office and key industry players.
‘In the planning and preparation stages of this event, we believe that the Minister’s office has made a crucial administrative oversight, and that is why industry players have not been included at the upcoming WA Preventative Health Summit.’
‘We hope that this will not happen in the future and we look forward to having a constructive working relationship with Minister Cook on these important matters of mutual interest in the future,’ concluded Mr Parker