Page 1090 - Week 03 - Thursday, 26 February 2009

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MR STANHOPE: I thank Ms Le Couteur for the question. The government does from time to time receive representations in relation to animal welfare issues at Pace Farm, as it does from time to time receive representations in relation to other animal welfare issues. They are always actively pursued. I am aware in the recent past of representations being made to the government on issues around animal welfare and codes of practice in relation to the keeping of battery hens and on the Australian standard that applies. I understand, and I have no reason to believe otherwise, that Pace Farm does comply with Australian standards in relation to the welfare of layer hens that are housed there. I have no reason to believe otherwise. I believe that Pace Farm operates under a best practice regime in relation to the welfare of hens. We all have a view around battery egg production methodology and, indeed, around some of the other issues that all other egg production methods represent for animal welfare.

I will take further conclusive advice, however, Ms Le Couteur, on your question—more up-to-date advice. I reiterate that I have no reason to believe that Pace Farm does not comply strictly with its requirements under law in relation to the welfare of the hens housed at its facility, but I will confirm that.

Economy—stimulus package

MR HANSON: My question is to the Minister for Planning. Minister, the Treasurer has so far been unable to clearly articulate the economic impact on the ACT as a result of the federal stimulus package, particularly as a result of the increased capital works component on the construction industry. Minister, from a planning perspective, what will be the impacts on the development and construction industry, and have you considered the implications to both the residential and commercial sectors?

MR BARR: I thank Mr Hanson for the question. There is an element within this package that I understand involves some investment in social housing, a coinvestment that the territory has with the commonwealth government. Depending, of course, on the decisions taken by the relevant housing authorities as to whether that development would be new houses in new estates, under current planning regulations new houses in new estates are exempt from development approval requirements. The current planning system in that context would not, in fact, need to be engaged in relation to the development of those particular houses.

Of course, if those properties as part of this package are determined to be constructed in an area that is not a new estate and would perhaps be urban infill, then, in that context they would, of course, either be submitted through the code or merit tracks in the planning system. That would be the only component in relation to the residential sector that would engage with the planning process.

In relation to a range of other works, the minor developments in the education sector would largely be exempt from development application, although there may be some works within the CIT component that may require development approval. Overall, its impact in terms of engagement with the Planning and Land Authority and planning systems will be minimal. The much more significant involvement and investment is part of the building the education revolution. Fortunately, thanks to the sensible

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