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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 9 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 3162 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

communities in which they live, some members of whom might not like to see GM technology used on farms in their region because ultimately these things spread; there's wind; there are feral animals, birds, whatever. It is inevitable that they will spread. (Extension of time granted.)

You only have to look at the spread of everything in Australian conditions-Paterson's curse, foxes, rabbits and the cane toad-to know that often things that are developed elsewhere, when they come to Australia, and even things developed in Australia that go wrong, have the potential to spread at extraordinary rates and extraordinary costs to the environment, to the social and economic wellbeing of Australia as well as to the ACT, as well as to individuals.

In supporting the bill-and the opposition will support the bill-let me foreshadow that we will come back to look at it in time. I understand Ms Tucker has some amendments, and we will look at those amendments. I don't think the government has taken seriously the report of the Standing Committee on Health. This is the golden opportunity for the government to show that they actually do believe in sustainability and the precautionary principle. And that opportunity is being thrown away.

Debate (on motion by Ms Tucker ) adjourned to a later hour.

Leave of absence

Motion (by Mr Hargreaves ) agreed to:

That leave of absence from 1 September to 30 September be given to Ms MacDonald.

Sitting suspended from 11.50 am to 2.30 pm.

Questions without notice

Cryptosporidium and giardia cases

MR SMYTH: My question is to the Minister for Health. Over the past few weeks I think we have all become aware of the increasing number of flus and bugs travelling around the territory. Mr Corbell, over the past few weeks has there been an increase in the number of reported cases of cryptosporidium and giardia in the ACT?

MR CORBELL: Not that I am aware of, Mr Speaker.

MR SMYTH: That is fair enough. The minister may wish to find out. My supplementary question is: do you guarantee that Canberra's water supply is not infected with cryptosporidium or giardia?

MR CORBELL: That is a fairly serious issue to raise, Mr Speaker. The Health Protection Service undertakes, in conjunction with ActewAGL's contractor, which monitors the safety of Canberra's water supply, regular testing of that supply. At this stage, as far as I am aware, there are no difficulties with the safety of Canberra's water supply.

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