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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 3 Hansard (14 March) . . Page.. 537..

MR BARR (continuing):

and training plan. The government has developed a number of strategies to meet these targets.

One strategy has involved the innovative restructuring of apprentice training. An example of this is the accelerated chefs program, developed in consultation with industry, unions and the CIT. This allows apprentices to complete their training in two years. This innovative program is a national first. It is worth noting that this program could only have worked with the full cooperation of all parties. We are very fortunate in the ACT to have employers, unions and training providers willing to try new approaches to deal with skills shortages.

In terms of other strategies, the government continues to support vocational education and training in schools. In 2006 there were 2,463 vocational certificates issued and 2,185 statements of attainment were awarded across ACT high schools and colleges. Also, 322 students undertook Australian school-based apprenticeships. The career education support service has proven to be another important government initiative. This service supports student participation in vocational learning and career education programs. In 2005-06, $472,000 was allocated to this in-school program.

So, Mr Speaker, as the Chief Minister outlined earlier, the government is committed to working with industry to address skills shortages. These latest statistics show that our efforts are paying off but we will need to continue to work with all stakeholders to continue to develop innovative programs. This government is committed to providing comprehensive pathways for all students. I think we can all be very proud of the territory's performance in vocational education and training.

Mr Stanhope: Mr Speaker, I ask that further questions be placed on the notice paper.

Supplementary answer to question without notice

Animal welfare

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, on 7 March Dr Foskey asked about battery cage egg production. For the information of members I provide the following information. A ban on the keeping of hens in a battery cage system for the production of eggs has a complex history. Implementation of the ban is equally complex, and I will explain.

The 1997 amendment to the Animal Welfare Act 1992 prohibits the keeping of hens for egg production in a battery cage system. This provision remains uncommenced. The reason it remains uncommenced is that a complementary provision under the Eggs (Labelling and Sale) Act 2001 prohibits the sale of eggs produced by a hen in a way that is an offence against the territory law or that would be an offence against the territory law if the hen were kept in the ACT.

This means that if a ban on the use of battery cages for layer hens in the ACT was implemented there would be consequential implications for interstate trade in battery cage produced eggs. National competition policy and constitutional issues relating to freedom of interstate trade arise here. The Animal Welfare Act recognises this in the following terms: before the Eggs (Labelling and Sale) Act provision can be applied, an exemption for the ACT has to be recognised in schedule 2 of the commonwealth's Mutual Recognition Act 1992. For this recognition to occur, each state jurisdiction

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