Labor welcomes the endorsement of the Health Star Rating system at a meeting of Commonwealth, State, Territory and New Zealand ministers at a meeting in Sydney today. The confirmation that the website supporting the system will be reinstated has Labor’s strong support.
Although the decision to pursue the Health Star Rating system is welcome news, it comes at a time when the Abbott Government has cut more than $377 million from preventive health programs. These decisions include the abolition of the Australian National Preventive Health Agency, tearing up the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health, cutting millions of dollars from the National Tobacco Strategy, and an ideological campaign designed to destroy Medicare.
Today’s decision is the result of months of advocacy by Labor and members of the working groups established to design and implement this important system. Their advocacy is to be commended, but it should not have been necessary had the Assistant Minister for Health not unilaterally instructed her department to take the Health Star Rating website down in the first place.
Australians deserve access to clear and accurate information about the food they buy and that is precisely what the Health Star Rating system will deliver.
Australians also deserve ministers in the health portfolio who will advocate for good health policy and fund preventive health programs.
Minister Nash is clearly not up to the task of Assistant Minister for Health.