Victorian public school students can receive a free, healthy lunch each day in an ambitious health and wellbeing plan under The Nationals.
Understanding the challenges of making household budgets stretch, The Nationals will support families by providing school lunches, if elected on November 26.
The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath said as a former school teacher I understand the importance of regular and nutritious meals to assist students in their learning.
“It is well documented that eating a healthy diet improves concentration in the classroom,” said Ms Bath.
Currently governments do not measure how many students go hungry each day, but literature and research suggest that as many as one third of students in some cohorts are either not eating a proper lunch, or are experiencing food insecurity.
The Nationals’ Healthy Lunches program will:
- Provide a free quality healthy lunch to students in all year levels (Prep to Year 12).
- Have meal options assessed by a panel of nutrition experts.
- Be an opt-in program, with parents choosing lunches via an app or website.
- Provide a boost to local small to medium businesses to cater to schools.
- Provide a real solution to food insecurity and cost of living pressures for families.
The Nationals Healthy Lunches program will commence as a two-year $300 million pilot, with rollout initially targeted into selected state primary schools in the second half of 2023. It’s anticipated that the program could be available to all state schools by 2026.
The Nationals candidate for Morwell, Martin Cameron said rising food bills are placing enormous pressure on families in the Latrobe Valley.
“Food insecurity is a problem facing many families in the Valley.
“As a parent, I understand the daily pressures of filling school lunchboxes.
“The Nationals program aims to ease the pressure on parents and carers by alleviating the cost of buying lunches, for those who opt in.
“A healthy lunch goes a long way to producing improved academic outcomes and assisting our children lead healthy lives.
“This initiative will benefit hundreds of Latrobe Valley school students and provide financial and time relief for many local families.”