George Institute submission on Transforming Australian Food Systems

The George Institute for Global Health is pleased to respond to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) on the Transforming Australian Food Systems: Discussion Paper consultation.

The George Institute commends CSIRO for undertaking the important work of setting out a vision for the future of Australia’s food systems and recognises the monumental scope and scale of the task.

“Australia’s food systems, inseparable from the health of individuals, communities and environments, are in major need of reform” said Damian Maganja, Research Associate and PhD Candidate in Food Policy at The George Institute, Australia.

“There is an unacceptable and preventable burden of diet-related disease in Australia, stemming not from poor decision-making or a lack of willpower, but from unhealthy food environments that are flooded with cheap ultra-processed foods and predatory marketing. Our food systems also contribute to and are impacted by environmental degradation.

“This reality, coupled with an increasingly unstable climate, is resulting in significant harm and needs urgent attention.

“The good news is that tangible, achievable and evidence-based solutions are already available. We simply need to act”.

The George Institute joins our public health and consumer colleagues in calling for an improved recognition of the current problems affecting our food systems and the available actions that can improve health and environmental outcomes.

The George Institute has made the following recommendations, in addition to our direct feedback to consultation questions.

  • Respect and include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ Knowledges in decision making
  • Conduct further consultation with public health and consumer stakeholders
  • Execute a new vision for 2025 that sees Australians protected from unhealthy food environments, and promote systems-level actions to improve the healthiness of food systems
  • Include water in agenda-setting for food systems
  • Remove conflicts of interest in food systems governance to ensure decisions are made to benefit all Australians
  • Review current indicators to better represent the current problems and the desirable future state

To read our full submission, please click here