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MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General and Minister for Consumer Affairs) (10.35): Mr Speaker, I present the Trade Measurement (Amendment) Bill 1995.

Title read by Clerk.


That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

In 1991 the Trade Measurement Act was enacted. The Trade Measurement Act is a uniform legislation exercise which has also been adopted in New South Wales, the Northern Territory, South Australia and Queensland. The aim of the uniform trade measurement legislation is to standardise laws relating to weights, measures and packaging across State and Territory borders. Reform of trade measurement regulation is an important micro-economic reform.

At the time of the implementation of the uniform scheme the States and Territories were unable to agree conclusively on the application of the legislation to bread. As a consequence, bread was specifically exempted from the uniform trade measurement Acts. The Weights and Measures Act 1929 was amended to retain controls only on bread sales and was renamed the Weights and Measures (Sale of Bread) Act 1929. Similar measures were adopted in other jurisdictions to provide some interim regulation of bread sales. The situation of the Trade Measurement Act 1991 applying to everything but bread has existed in the Territory since 1991.

In 1994 Consumer Affairs Ministers across Australia agreed to implement uniform trade measurement legislation with respect to bread. New South Wales has already amended the equivalent legislation in that State to bring about the deregulation of bread sales. On 1 July 1994 the Trade Measurement (Amendment) Act 1994 of New South Wales commenced operation. The purpose of this Act was to omit Part V of the Bread Act 1969 of New South Wales and to bring the sale of bread under the Act. Part V of the New South Wales Act made it mandatory to sell bread in standard sized loaves, in a similar manner to our Weights and Measures (Sale of Bread) Act. The present Bill will remove this inconsistency.

The Bill provides for the repeal of the Weights and Measures (Sale of Bread) Act 1929. Essentially, this Act provides for the sale of bread only in standard sized loaves, with some limited corresponding powers to facilitate compliance. The repeal of the Weights and Measures (Sale of Bread) Act 1929 and the corresponding amendment of the Trade Measurement Act will have the following consequences: There will no longer be a requirement that bread be sold in prescribed loaf sizes; the remaining weights and measures regulations made under the Weights and Measures (Sale of Bread) Act will be repealed; the Trade Measurement Act and consequently the Trade Measurement (Pre-packed Articles) Regulations will apply to the sale of bread; packaged bread will be required to be marked with its net weight rather than its nominal weight, whatever that was. Net weight represents the actual weight of the bread.

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