2019 NSW state election campaign: remove unhealthy food marketing from state-owned property
Childhood obesity is a serious problem in NSW because it affects children’s health and wellbeing now and into the future. Projections into future health costs show that obesity and connected diseases such as cancer will be a major contributor to those costs.
The NSW government invests in addressing obesity in many ways, including through prevention programs with families, childcare centres and schools. At the same time, the NSW government is taking money from food companies to advertise junk food on government-contracted buses and train stations. This contradicts and undermines efforts to tackle childhood obesity.
82% of food ads on buses and at train stations are for unhealthy foods
72% of food ads on Designated school buses are for unhealthy foods
In 2019, tackling childhood obesity was identified as a Premier’s priority. It made sense that removing junk food marketing from state-owned property was one way the government could demonstrate leadership. It would show a serious commitment to solving the problem. As opposed to adding to the unhealthy messages that kids see on their way to school or going about their daily activities.
2019 NSW state election campaign
Cancer Council NSW identified junk food marketing on state-owned property as an area we would campaign on leading up to the 2019 NSW election. We have a large community of volunteers who advocate to change what politicians do about cancer. Together with our advocacy community, we asked the candidates to take action to remove junk food marketing from state-owned property if they were elected. Community advocates activity in the eight months leading up to the election included:
engaged over 230 times with MPs and candidates
held 17 forums around the state
gained over 200 media stories
The campaign raised awareness in the community and candidates of the link between obesity and cancer. It also showed why reducing food marketing to children is important and what the NSW government can do about it.
What’s happening in other states?
Elected officials in both Western Australia and Queensland are taking steps towards addressing unhealthy marketing on state government property. Let’s hope NSW government will follow suit!