Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 11 Hansard (21 October) . . Page.. 3441 ..
MR MOORE (continuing):
another dollar per dozen. They wish to attract customers from a business perspective. So they should. The normal run of eggs we all see in the supermarkets that take up the biggest spot are battery cage eggs. Everybody knows that. We have now a little reminder for when we take it home or when we check the use-by date. We can see that these are battery eggs.
Mr Speaker, the regulation that is in place, consistent with the legislation that was put up by the Greens and carried through, requires conspicuous labelling. It delivers conspicuous labelling. We do not need to modify it. I first saw the legislation when it came out. I think it was Animal Liberation that complained that it was not conspicuous. I said at the time, "Well, if it is not, we will change the regulation and make sure it is conspicuous". That was before I had seen a carton with the label on it or talked to the manufacturers. Looking at it and reviewing it, the regulation itself seems fine. It does the job and does not need modification.
MR CORBELL (12.11): The Labor Opposition was instrumental in seeing the passage of the ACT's labelling laws and the laws relating to the eventual phase-out of battery cage production in the ACT. Without the Labor Party's amendments at that time, we would not have seen that legislation passed through the Assembly. This is an issue to which we have paid close attention. We believe it needs to be continued to be addressed through actions of the Assembly and in improving community understanding of the differences between forms of egg production and the impact they have on the animals involved. We supported the proposals to require labelling for the different types of egg production.
The Greens' amendments appear to address concerns that have been raised since the regulation was first made by the Minister, just over a month ago. However, to go back to when we initially looked at the amendments to the mother legislation, if you like, from which these regulations flow, we did endeavour to talk to the producers involved, primarily Parkwood, the only major producers of eggs in the ACT. One of the reasons why we brought about the amendments in 1997 was in response to, firstly, a concern about the time required for a phase-out of battery caged production; and, secondly, the limits imposed on us by national competition policy and the Mutual Recognition Act.
We believe that at that time we produced a regime which was workable; which provided for a phase-out at an appropriate time, consistent with the restraints imposed on us, but agreed to also, I must admit, by the Mutual Recognition Act. We accept on this occasion the arguments of the Government that there are constraints we still need to deal with. Mr Moore has highlighted why the proposals put forward by Ms Tucker are not workable.
I say that with some regret. I would like to see that labelling in a more prominent position so that, when someone got it off the shelf, they could see straight away that it was labelled a battery egg or a barn egg. However, we do have to try to bring the industry with us on this issue. Parkwood has been an organisation which, through their labelling to date, has indicated a willingness to go with the legislation and not to put up an enormous fight.