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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (9 August) . . Page.. 2650 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

The bill provides for the issuing of infringements notices by authorised officers for certain minor offences. Infringement notice offences will be prescribed in the regulations. Infringement notices serve as an alternative to prosecution, whereby they are issued and the business can decide whether to pay the fine. If they do not pay the fine within the specified time or dispute liability for an offence, the matter may be taken to court.

The bill describes procedural issues to be followed or observed when undertaking a prosecution for an offence under the act. Consistent with the current act, it includes provisions on bribery, presumptions, evidence of expert witnesses, and the ability of the court to award costs, order the forfeiture of items used to commit offences and correct advertising. The bill includes issues relating to protection from liability for individual officials who honestly and without negligence enforce the act. It also covers secrecy, decisions reviewable by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, approval of codes of practice, determination of fees and regulation-making powers.

In summary, the bill I have introduced today is not a one-off measure. Rather, it is part of a comprehensive package of reforms that seek to unify Australia's approach to food production, from paddock to plate. The bill reflects many years of development and extensive consultation. In the case of the Meat Act 1931, it replaces outdated and unnecessary legislation with modern best practice legislation. In the case of the Food Act 1992, it corrects identified deficiencies and permits the adoption of the food safety standards.

The Food Bill 2001 will ensure the protection of public health while at the same time affording businesses with a framework that maintains their right to natural justice and has been assessed by the regulatory impact statement as being the minimum in terms of effective regulation. The 2000 agreement and this bill ensure national consistency across all three regulatory elements that have traditionally comprised Australian food law: an act that establishes principles of framework, administrative structures, offences and penalties; food standards which set down compositional, microbiological, chemical, labelling and quality criteria which food is required to meet; and food hygiene standards whose purpose is to ensure that the production, processing, storage and handling of food does not result in microbiological, chemical or physical contamination.

It is with great pleasure, Mr Speaker, that I commend this bill to members of the Legislative Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Wood ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Crimes Amendment Bill 2001

Mr Osborne , by leave, presented the bill and its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR OSBORNE (11.25): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

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