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Clubs ACT takes another swing at the Health Protection Service

By johnboy - 9 August 2012 7

Clubs ACT are letting it be known that they’re most unhappy with scores on doors being brought in for the whole food service industry despite the problems being largely the domain of the asian vendors:

So as of June of last year, only one particular sector of the food industry was responsible for 86% of the prohibition orders that had been issued and HPS had identified a lack of understanding of English food safety terminology, or language, as a contributing factor.

This was underscored by the Auditor-General’s report which was issued in December of 2011 which recommended that more comprehensive information on food safety in targeted languages would enhance food safety. There still has been no information provided on how HPS have responded to and acted upon the Auditor-General’s findings and recommendations eight months on.

But in a brief to the Chief Minister signed off on the 30th of March 2012, the Health Protection Service advised that it had “…commenced work on translating information sheets into languages other than English”.

So HPS were aware as far back as 2009/10 that half of the prohibition orders issued were for Asian food restaurants, with that figure increasing to 86% in the first half of 2011 and by at least March of 2012, information in other languages still wasn’t available.

“This is exactly why in our submission to the 5 page KPMG Food Safety Discussion Paper which was lodged in September 2011, ClubsACT concluded with the following:

    ClubsACT does not support the introduction of [these] measures until an external review of existing Health Protection Services policies and procedures as they pertain to food safety is completed.

“We believed it was important to first examine what procedures where currently in place before new and potentially costly regulation was introduced. This was based on a view that there needed to be more work done to identify why there was a spike in the number of improvement notices and prohibition orders being issued and what could be done to address the cause of the spike.

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7 Responses to
Clubs ACT takes another swing at the Health Protection Service
54-11 1:15 am 21 Aug 12

Jeff House is now supporting a trial of the scores on doors approach.

Well done, Jeff, for now standing up for improved food safety standards. Until someone is struck down with food poisoning, they don’t understand how important this is.

ClubsACT 3:07 pm 10 Aug 12

54-11 said :

Potus29 said :

Elizabethany said :

I do wonder why they are so scared about scores on doors and health checks. If they are doing the right thing, there shouldn’t be a problem…

I think the point is Elizabethany that scores on doors means grading ALL venues who are ALL doing the right thing. So even though the small suburban cafe is compliant with the food standards it gets a lower score and hence less business (which international experience shows will happen) simply because it can’t compete with the kitchen at the Hyatt Hotel that will throw more money at getting the top score.

Why should any venue be penalised for being compliant with food safety standards???

This still doesn’t answer why the clubs are so hell-bent on ensuring there is inadequate oversight of their operations. Most clubs are far from being a “small suburban cafe”. Jeff House is going all out on his campaign, and unfortunately the clubs are a very powerful lobby group in the ACT. (Disclosure – I am a member of 8 ACT clubs, and I no way support what House is doing in the name of members of the clubs he represents.)

54-11, this is not a campaign – this is doing my job and if you think this is me ‘going all out’ then you don’t know me very well.

Flippant 3:01 pm 10 Aug 12

This is also not just about Scores on Doors but the abundance of regulation the hospitality industry has been subjected to and continues to be subjected to.

The pending ‘Score on Doors’ is just another creep in regulation after a host of changes in a few short years. These changes have included… liquor fee increases (2009 max paid $3K – 2012 max paid $23.5K), smoking bans, outdoor seating fee increases, trading hour restrictions, complex risk assessment plans, compiling alcohol data (unique to the ACT), a host of penalties from new regulation (lining PS coffers) and never-ending regulatory signs turning business into Gov’t billboards. Worst of all is the never ending paper-burden imposed by the bureaucratic machine turning service providers into administrators.

The ACT Government has also announced they are committed to reducing Red Tape and the industry is waiting to see that put into action. And here we are being told there is more to come…

A ‘modus operandi’ that aims at a continuance of costly regulation on business will not serve to improve anything in the ACT. The estimated cost of Scores on Doors is $15m a cost to be borne by business.

Furthermore, the HPS has been exposed as having major administrative failings in their senior management… and we sit back and wonder… this is from the same Directorate that brings the ACT 12,000 fraudulent data entries. Is it possible to conceive that if the management in HPS had an agenda (a thinly veiled tax/charge regime) that they could somehow doctor inspection results and vilify a perfectly good industry… they are on record via an FOI as double counting prohibition notices and they were exposed by the Auditor-General as not keeping their data correctly.

If the ACT Government is truly committed to reducing Red Tape then there are some housekeeping issues they should address in the first instance.

54-11 11:15 am 10 Aug 12

Potus29 said :

Elizabethany said :

I do wonder why they are so scared about scores on doors and health checks. If they are doing the right thing, there shouldn’t be a problem…

I think the point is Elizabethany that scores on doors means grading ALL venues who are ALL doing the right thing. So even though the small suburban cafe is compliant with the food standards it gets a lower score and hence less business (which international experience shows will happen) simply because it can’t compete with the kitchen at the Hyatt Hotel that will throw more money at getting the top score.

Why should any venue be penalised for being compliant with food safety standards???

This still doesn’t answer why the clubs are so hell-bent on ensuring there is inadequate oversight of their operations. Most clubs are far from being a “small suburban cafe”. Jeff House is going all out on his campaign, and unfortunately the clubs are a very powerful lobby group in the ACT. (Disclosure – I am a member of 8 ACT clubs, and I no way support what House is doing in the name of members of the clubs he represents.)

Potus29 9:05 am 10 Aug 12

Elizabethany said :

I do wonder why they are so scared about scores on doors and health checks. If they are doing the right thing, there shouldn’t be a problem…

I think the point is Elizabethany that scores on doors means grading ALL venues who are ALL doing the right thing. So even though the small suburban cafe is compliant with the food standards it gets a lower score and hence less business (which international experience shows will happen) simply because it can’t compete with the kitchen at the Hyatt Hotel that will throw more money at getting the top score.

Why should any venue be penalised for being compliant with food safety standards???

Elizabethany 8:40 pm 09 Aug 12

I do wonder why they are so scared about scores on doors and health checks. If they are doing the right thing, there shouldn’t be a problem…

Buckaroo_Banzai 7:40 pm 09 Aug 12

“Were”, not “where”.

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