With state Premiers in Canberra for the latest Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting, the states and territories agreed to sweeping reforms to country of origin food labelling which will give Australian consumers clearer and more meaningful information about the products they buy.
This agreement comes after decades of frustration on the part of consumers that country of origin information for food is misleading and confusing. The new food labelling system will provide Australian consumers with the clarity they deserve, without imposing an excessive burden on businesses.
Many foods found on Australian retail shelves will be required to include a kangaroo in a triangle logo to indicate if the food is made, produced or grown in Australia. The new system will also include a bar chart indicating the proportion of Australian ingredients.
Australian consumers should be able to trust that claims such as ‘Made in’ and ‘Product of’ are applied consistently and the new system will ensure that’s the case.
This is very welcome news and I congratulate my state and territory colleagues for agreeing to these reforms that deliver a big win for consumers.
The reforms will be introduced from 1 July 2016 with labels expected to appear in retail outlets later this year.
Further good news is the new initiative from the Coalition Government which will revolutionise the way we care for Australians with chronic diseases and complex conditions.
The Healthier Medicare package is one of the biggest health system reforms since the introduction of Medicare 30 years ago and aims to keep people out-of-hospital and living happier and healthier lives at home.
Once implemented, patients with multiple chronic conditions will be eligible for a health care package tailored to their needs, with this care co-ordinated to help them easily navigate the medical system.
Combined with other Government reforms, such as the new digital MyHealth Record, this package will empower patients to take better control of their own care and reduce potentially life-threatening and costly inefficiencies in our health system, including hospitals.
The primary care package will be trialled through creating ‘Health Care Homes’ that will be responsible for the ongoing co-ordination, management and support of a patient’s care.
About 65,000 Australians will participate in initial two-year trials in up to 200 medical practices from 1 July 2017.
Details of this package are available at http://health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/primary-phcag-report
The Commonwealth Government will be supporting events to be held as part of National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week celebrations in July.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion said the 2016 NAIDOC grant funding round was part of a more than $2 million commitment from the Australian Government to support NAIDOC celebrations this year.
I strongly encourage local organisations to consider applying for funding to help cover the costs of staging events during NAIDOC Week. Events can include anything from a community morning tea or barbecue to a flag-raising ceremony or art workshop.
Support for such activities will be made available through the Commonwealth Government’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy.
Details in relation to the 2016 NAIDOC grant funding are available on the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet website. Applications close 4pm AEST on Friday 29 April 2016.