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Kudos to ACT Govt for chocolate fundraiser ban in its workplaces

By Charlotte Harper 14 December 2016 31

Chocolate fundraisers

I despise chocolate fundraisers, and applaud the ACT Government move to ban the sale of such foods in Territory public service offices.

I’m not anti-chocolate per se. Give me a Lindt reindeer, Guylian shell or Malteaser and I will forget everything else that is going on around me until it’s gone.

But that’s the problem, isn’t it.

Do you agree with the ACT Government's decision to ban the sale of fundraising chocolates in its workspaces?

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My hockey club used to run chocolate fundraisers. Everyone had to participate once a year, taking several boxes home to take to work and sell. Some of those boxes would make it to my office, where colleagues, many who had weight problems and other health issues, would feel obliged to buy some to support me. In my guilt about all of that, I’d decide against taking the other boxes in. I should’ve put them in the bin. You can guess what really happened, and no, it didn’t involve my children eating them. We limit their sugar intake, but in any case, fortunately, they seem not to have inherited the “must eat/drink/do it all now” gene from their mother.

My fondness for those fundraising chocolate frogs was among the reasons for my hip to waist ratio to blowing out to the point of ringing serious alarm bells with my GP and, when I looked at the implications of this for my health, scaring me into action (more on that in a future post – in short, having ditched the drink to address it, I’m down 10kg and up $4000).

Full marks to the committee of the hockey club who switched a couple of years back to getting us to volunteer at events like the Australian Running Festival as a fundraiser instead.

So, yes, for what its worth, the ACT Government has my big tick of approval for its decision to over the next year phase out chocolate fundraisers in its workplaces.

I’m not sorry about the impact this will have on chocolate companies. They do very well out of us chocolate addicts without needing to guilt us into eating more for charity as well.

I’m not sorry about the impact this will have on organisations trying to raise funds, either. There are plenty of options out there, as my hockey club discovered. Sporting organisations in particular should look at fundraisers that complement their efforts to keep their members fit and healthy. Chocolate sales do quite the opposite.

What do you think about the ACT Government’s move on chocolate fundraisers? Can you recommend alternatives for organisations looking to replace chocolates for fundraising?

Here’s the ACT Government announcement to staff:

HEALTHY ALTERNATIVES TO CHOCOLATE FUNDRAISERS

The selling of fundraising chocolates are being phased out of ACT Government workplaces as part of the ACT Public Sector (ACTPS) Healthy Food and Drink Choices Policy in an effort to enhance the availability of health options. The ACT Government is leading by example to the community in promoting healthy food and drink choices in the workplace.
While chocolate or confectionary fundraisers are often trying to raise money for a good cause, they have a detrimental impact on our health and do not contribute positively to a healthy balanced diet as they are high in sugar. Combining these high-energy foods with sedentary lifestyles can lead to unhealthy lifestyle behaviours, which increases the risk of developing long lasting health issues, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer.
Sporting teams and schools often run fundraisers with chocolates and other confectionary. There is a growing trend for sporting teams and school groups to fundraise in other ways, which includes offering healthier alternatives. A number of schools are now fundraising mangoes which have proven to be very popular. If you are organising a fundraiser, try suggesting a novel approach like sporting equipment, fruit trays, movie tickets or store vouchers. These creative ideas will help to promote the fundraiser, while also encouraging healthy habits within the club, school, workplaces and the broader community.
The healthy fundraising fact sheet has a range of options available to help ACT Government employees continue to support fundraising activities while meeting the requirements of the ACTPS Healthy Food and Drink Choices Policy within a health promoting workplace.
These requirements already apply to staff at ACT Health as their Healthy Food and Drink Choices Policy has been in place since March 2015.
The ACT Government is committed to supporting a healthy, active and productive community under the Healthy Weight Initiative.
Authorised by Bronwen Overton-Clarke, Deputy Director-General, Workforce Capability and Governance Division, Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate

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31 Responses to
Kudos to ACT Govt for chocolate fundraiser ban in its workplaces
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rommeldog56 10:32 am 22 Dec 16

Heavs said :

But to sheet it home to the government of the day is a bit rough. It’s just an internal policy dreamed up by a genius with too much time on their hands.

No doubt it was dreamed up by some zealous bureaucrat – probably in OH&S – with too time on their hands. But, Ministers, as part of the ACT Gov’t, head up a Department and they have responsibility for the administration of their Department. I’m sure the responsible Minister(s) would at least have been briefed on this “initiative”.

So, it’s not “rough” to “sheet it home to the Government of the day”, as claimed.

gooterz 12:23 am 18 Dec 16

We need some good stock photos of those involved at the highest levels eating chocolate snacks. Would make good meme material

Holden Caulfield 11:19 am 16 Dec 16

It’s all a bit of a storm in a tea cup, I think.

Yeah, it’s a bit c#@p that GovCo is dictating stuff like this, but on the other hand, as an employer, they should have the right to have some say over the health and wellbeing of their employees.

At the end of the day, despite the valid nanny state claims, there are bigger things in life to worry about.

dungfungus 10:25 am 16 Dec 16

curmudgery said :

Hang on. Businesses aren’t allowed to tout on Government premises and rightly so. But apparently, if you bung the word ‘charity’ or ‘club’ in there somewhere …
They should ban selling everything – not just chocolate. That would be consistent.

But CPSU delegates are allowed to conduct “workplace organising” in government premises and they are a business, not a charity or a club so how do you explain this anomaly?

Heavs 8:00 am 16 Dec 16

rommeldog56 said :

This is bonkers !

In the same vein then, all ACT Govt public servants should have their bags checked to see that any home made lunches are indeed “healthy” (god forbid what will happen to anyone smuggling in chocolates !), all vending machines selling chips / anything choc coated & other unhealthy snack foods must be removed from ACT Govt premises, all ACT Govt workplaces lunches and Section teas/farewells/birthday celebrations must not contain anything with chocolate in/on it (begone chocolate cakes for staff functions), all external lunch venues must only have “healthy” food on the menu, etc.

But why stop at chocolate ? Why not also ban from ACT Govt workplaces dairy foods such as cheese and full cream milk, cakes, etc, too. And what about those ACT public servants who dare bring back some greasy artery hardening take away or MSG flooded Chinese food back to the workplace at lunch time ? Should they be stopped at the security desk as those foods may be injurious to their health ? Surely, if they don’t eat it all but offer the left overs to others, they should be counselled ????

Is the support of this inane decision by the ACT Labor/Greens Govt seriously what Canberrians have become ?

And Canberra isn’t a nanny state ??? Groan…..

It could only happen in Canberra.

The rest of the policy is quite a giggle as well. And it does cover catering on site for meetings and stuff.

But to sheet it home to the government of the day is a bit rough. It’s just an internal policy dreamed up by a genius with too much time on their hands.

Ian 10:31 pm 15 Dec 16

I’d just ban any fundraising from work, on the grounds that they are a distraction that reduces productivity.

I don’t really think its the employer’s place to dictate what foods can be consumed at work. Smoking bans are justified because smoke does harm to everyone in the vicinity. Eating fatty foods only affects the eater.

If they’re going to insist on healthy fundraisers, might I suggest a durian eating competition in the office.

southsiderioter 6:15 pm 15 Dec 16

Hypocritical.

ACT Health spent last month letting everyone in their employ know about the millions of dollars that has been raised this year for the Paediatric department by Woolworths selling greasy BBQ food, soft drink and mega-sized lamingtons in a 4-pack once a month. Quite happy to sell junk food to fundraise, but heaven forbid if a staff member brings in some charity chocolates!

curmudgery 4:45 pm 15 Dec 16

Hang on. Businesses aren’t allowed to tout on Government premises and rightly so. But apparently, if you bung the word ‘charity’ or ‘club’ in there somewhere …
They should ban selling everything – not just chocolate. That would be consistent.

Barron 3:30 pm 15 Dec 16

I can understand the lack of self-discipline that may be almost genetic in politicians but to ban this type of fund raising throughout the public service shows little respect for the public servants’ ability to may sound decisions.
Seriously what sort of priorities does this government have when it can even take the time to consider such a frivolous matter. If a matter of this level of frivolity was brought before the courts it would be thrown in the nearest bin. With our government considering such matters it really does make it a laughing stock and please never let me hear that our politicians work hard if this is the level of their work.

chewy14 12:13 pm 15 Dec 16

justin heywood said :

I’ve just run this initiative through my Green Left policy initiate algorithm. Inputs as follows:

1. Zero cost to the proponents, but likely to have some impact on people we don’t care about anyway? YES

2. Token gesture that won’t make any real difference to anything? YES

3. Token gesture which will win the support of all those who wouldn’t be seen dead eating the common sort of chocolate produced by multinationals? YES

4. Token gesture that will win the support of those who wouldn’t be seen dead eating with common sort of people? YES

5. Opportunity to grandstand about your own choice in ‘high class’ chocolate? YES

Unsurprisingly, the algorithm produced a positive result. Suggested alternatives were:

1. Small paper bags of Fair Trade ‘organic’ lentils, of dubious origin and overpriced but clearly marked ‘Special’ on both sides of the bag.

2. Abandon fund-raising altogether. Put all efforts into lobbying ‘the government’ to pay for everything.

LOL. It’s funny because it’s true.

justin heywood 11:04 am 15 Dec 16

I’ve just run this initiative through my Green Left policy initiate algorithm. Inputs as follows:

1. Zero cost to the proponents, but likely to have some impact on people we don’t care about anyway? YES

2. Token gesture that won’t make any real difference to anything? YES

3. Token gesture which will win the support of all those who wouldn’t be seen dead eating the common sort of chocolate produced by multinationals? YES

4. Token gesture that will win the support of those who wouldn’t be seen dead eating with common sort of people? YES

5. Opportunity to grandstand about your own choice in ‘high class’ chocolate? YES

Unsurprisingly, the algorithm produced a positive result. Suggested alternatives were:

1. Small paper bags of Fair Trade ‘organic’ lentils, of dubious origin and overpriced but clearly marked ‘Special’ on both sides of the bag.

2. Abandon fund-raising altogether. Put all efforts into lobbying ‘the government’ to pay for everything.

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