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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 3079 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

The national scheme, granted, does not use the word battery when it comes to cage legislation. Having visited a number of egg production schemes, there were old ones that were appropriately described as battery cages, but there are new cage systems that do not fit into that category. They would be best described as cage systems.

Mr Speaker, it seems to me that we are in a position to be able to proceed. I wrote to members earlier today on issues raised by the scrutiny of bills committee and distributed our response to each of those.

The Food Bill is not a one-off measure. It is part of a comprehensive package of national reforms which seek to unify Australia's approach to food production. The Food Bill supports the Department of Health, Housing and Community Care in efforts to ensure the safe supply of food to the ACT community without unnecessarily impacting on business. It supports the departments extensive ongoing educational role, not only for food businesses and their employees but also for the wider community.

The Food Bill replaces outdated and unnecessary legislation with modern, nationally consistent, best practice legislation. It represents a new era in food regulation. A food business operating, say, at Federation Square in Gungahlin will be required to meet the same food standards as one operating on Fraser Island in Queensland. Mr Speaker, I commend the bill to the house.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle

Detail stage

Bill, by leave, taken as a whole.

MS TUCKER (5.28): I move the amendment circulated in my name [see schedule 1 at page 3109].

My amendment merely transfers all the existing provisions in the Food Act relating to hens and eggs that were put there by the 1997 Greens' private members bill and places them in the Animal Welfare Act. This also includes the relevant food regulation issued by the health minister in 1999 which sets out the criteria for determining which labelling expression to use, that is, battery, cage, barn, aviary or free range. This regulation has been made a schedule to the Animal Welfare Act. There is also a consequential amendment to the Animal Welfare (Amendment) Act 1997 to fix up a cross-reference that will no longer exist with the passing of the Food Bill. The substance of the existing egg labelling provisions has not been changed apart from some minor drafting changes.

Members may recall that I moved to amend the regulations on the food labelling when they were first introduced because I thought that the labelling was not conspicuous enough. I still hold that view, but my intention today is not to repeat that debate but merely to ensure that the existing labelling requirements continue.

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