Recently, WasteWatch brought you the news of the Federal Government funding yet another obesity report at a cost of $80 000 to the Australian taxpayer.
Now it seems government has decided to do something about the problem. And no prizes for guessing what that response involves: throwing more money at the issue!
Back in 2012, Boroondara Council in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs received $375 000 from the Australian taxpayer as part of the Gillard Labor Government’s “Liveable Cities Program.” This was designed to help renovate Camberwell Junction, to make walking easier and more attractive for punters in the area. On top of this cash splash, Boroondara Council committed an extra $250 000 of its own ratepayers’ money to the project.
But that isn’t all!
To “inject some additional fun into walking,” the Council is also running a ‘behaviour change program’ in the area. This progam is called ‘Try Walking’, and aims to “create a competition with challenges and rewards.”
The Council has been mailing out advertisements about the new competition to its hapless ratepayers, and one excellent WasteWatch reader gave us a sneak peak at the ads.
According to the mail-out, ratepayers are given a few business cards (which they have already paid for), upon which they are encouraged to make a promise like ‘replace two car trips with walking.’ They are then to hand out the promissory business cards to poor unsuspecting friends and family, and ‘remember that they are a person of their word.’
In this easy two-step process, the citizens of Boroondara Commune will be transformed into fit, rippling, goose-stepping denizens of the Liveable Cities brave new world…
They also get a dashing bright orange magnet to stick on their fridge in the meantime.
If the ratepayers participate in the ‘Try Walking’ program, and if they successfully complete a range of challenges that their concerned Council sets for them, then they will go into the draw to win $1000 worth of prizes, which they have also already paid for.
Finally, the lucky ratepayers were invited to the ‘Try Walking’ launch last weekend, at which they could consume ‘free’ coffee and gourmet cupcakes (which they also probably have already paid for).
This was presumably to make sure that any health benefits of their walking that day were negated, so they would be forced to walk again the next day, and the next, and the next, in an anxious attempt to qualify for a competition to win their own money back.
WasteWatch thanks our Boroondara correspondent again for his tip-off, and wishes the people of Boondara Council well.
We remain confident in your ability to walk to and from your local shops without government assistance. Enjoy your coffee and cupcakes though! You’re paying for them either way…
William Shrubb, WasteWatch Intern
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