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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (24 October) . . Page.. 1929 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

Ms Horodny made some statements on the subject last week as well. I quote her from ABC radio on Friday morning. She said:

The ACT doesn't have its own code of practice for the care of battery hens so we have to put together a code of practice for the ACT.

I would expect that members would exercise a little more care before they make those kinds of irrational or unsubstantiated statements. In fact, the ACT has had a code of practice for the care of domestic poultry since 15 May 1993. The process whereby those codes have been thrown up and approved by successive governments has been one widely supported by the community and in this chamber.

Parkwood is a Canberra business, as Mr Hird points out. It employs 60 people and supplies 80 per cent of the ACT's eggs. They have about 250,000 hens at Parkwood. If, as I think has been proposed by Ms Horodny, Parkwood Eggs were to be made to comply with a ban on battery production, my view is quite clear that that would almost certainly force either the closure of Parkwood Eggs or its movement across the border into New South Wales.

Mr Berry: About 200 metres to the west.

MR HUMPHRIES: Perhaps only 200 metres to the west, but making that transition would deprive the ACT, for example, of payroll tax revenue, and no ACT legislation on animal welfare can apply to them in New South Wales. It would achieve absolutely nothing from the point of view of those who seek to make a point about animal welfare. If we are to raise the standards of care for domestic poultry, or any other animals, in this country, we should do so as part of a national program to gradually get national standards for the treatment of these sorts of animals. The ACT will continue to comply with national standards. I strongly reject the suggestion that we should apply higher standards at this time - standards which, I would argue, are unnecessary at this time - because that would simply cost the ACT community jobs.

Mr Speaker, it is worth recording also that the Animal Health Committee of the national Standing Committee on Agriculture and Resource Management is recommending that the Egg Association take a more active role in self-regulation and allow firms which surpass the minimum standards under the code of practice to advertise that fact. I think we would find that Parkwood Eggs achieve that goal on all occasions, and would be able to advertise in that fashion frequently. They are one of the best facilities of their kind in the whole of this country.

MR HIRD: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. The Minister heard on ABC radio on Friday last that Animal Liberation had seized a number of birds and taken them to a veterinarian who was said to be appalled by the condition they were in. Do you know who this veterinarian is?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I do know who the veterinary surgeon is.

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