Drinks stance correct
THE City of Greater Geelong’s plan to phase out soft drinks in council and community operated facilities will divide opinion. There will be many who say it is not council’s job to decide what can and cannot be consumed at community and sporting venues, and a strategy that seeks to ban some drinks oversteps the mark and smacks of a nanny state.
“Stick to filling potholes and collecting garbage bins and leave my drinking habits alone,” many ratepayers may well cry.
“What is the point of banning soft drinks?” others may ask, “when dim sims, hot dogs, pies, chips and ice creams can conceivably still be purchased?”
There is some merit to those arguments. Council has many important jobs to do without concerning itself over the state of ratepayers’ teeth and waistlines. But there is a wellknown saying that ‘it takes a village to raise a child’, and that philosophy supports the involvement of others in caring for our youth. Council already plays a major role in ensuring the wellbeing of our littlest citizens by providing maternal and child health services, as well as childcare centres and kindergartens. Councils build and maintain playgrounds.
A good council should care about — and for — kids, and the rest of the community.
There is a lot of evidence to suggest no good can come from the regular consumption of soft drinks. Packed full of sugar and with no nutritional value, soft drinks rot teeth and make us fat.
Research shows Geelong has one of the fattest and chronically sickest populations, and simply ignoring that fact helps nobody. Phasing out the sale of soft drinks, when and where possible, is an attempt at doing something to stem the rising tide of poor health.
Barwon Health has phased out soft drinks in its vending machines and cafes, and despite predictions the ban would cause a riot, it has barely caused a ripple. Both Barwon Health and the council are taking their positions as community leaders seriously. They are trying to make a difference. They are making a start.