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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 13 Hansard (4 December) . . Page.. 3846..

MR STANHOPE: As I indicated, I have already been in touch with Lindsay Tanner and corresponded with him in relation to these issues. I have actually put to Lindsay Tanner some priorities of the ACT government in areas in relation to which we believe there is a necessity for continued commonwealth support; for instance, in relation to the NCA. I believe the NCA is a vital organisation, and I have put the point strongly to Lindsay Tanner and, indeed, to some of his colleagues that it is important that the NCA be supported, that it remain strong and that it continue to receive the support of the federal government.

Indeed, I have indicated the extent to which my government has enjoyed exemplary relationships with the chairman, Michael Ball, and that it would be my hope that Michael Ball would be reappointed to the position of chair of the NCA because of the sterling job that I believe he has done, because of his very obvious commitment to Canberra as the national capital of Australia and because of the essential and vital role of the NCA to advocate for Canberra as the national capital. So I have been in touch.

We are, of course, aware of the need to stay across all the implications for the ACT, the ACT government and the people of the ACT as a result of the change of government. Indeed, just yesterday the cabinet was briefed in detail on the implications to the territory of a change of government. So these are obviously very important issues, and we take them seriously.

Battery cage eggs

DR FOSKEY: My question is to the Chief Minister. It is to follow up on his undertaking that the ACT would no longer purchase battery cage eggs. Chief Minister, when I last asked you about this issue, you said: "There are certain investigations that officials will have to take in relation to existing contracts, et cetera, et cetera, but we have started the process of ensuring that the ACT government will, in future, not use battery cage eggs."I am interested to know how that process is going. Exactly when will it be that the ACT ceases to buy battery cage eggs?

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Dr Foskey. I fear that I do not have the answer to that specific question. I must say that I have not received a recent briefing in relation to that particular issue. I regret that I will have to take it on notice. This is an issue that we continue to pursue. I am very aware of the level of interest within the community in relation to the issue of the cage production of eggs.

I note—in decisions taken in the last two to three weeks in the United Kingdom in relation to the phasing out of the cage production of eggs, at the heart of the bill, Dr Foskey, that you have sponsored and at the attitude that the ACT government has taken to this issue—that there is a changing mood around the world in relation to the cage production of eggs. It was interesting to reflect on the decision taken—I am not sure whether it is the whole of the United Kingdom, but certainly in England—to begin the progressive phase-out with an end date.

The ACT government remains committed to the strategy that I outlined. But in relation to the specific question you asked, I will have to take it on notice. Hopefully, I will respond within the next day or so.

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