Page 4728 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 10 November 2009

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MRS DUNNE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, will you commit to ensuring that any government measures that put upward pressure on childcare fees will be matched by ACT government measures to help bring down the cost of childcare?

Members interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Order! Minister Burch, you have the floor.

Mr Hanson: Is that why you’re doing it, Jon?

Mr Stanhope: It will assist across the board.

MR SPEAKER: Order, members! Mr Hanson, Mr Stanhope, that is enough.

MS BURCH: My response would be to highlight our commitment to early childhood centres. We have brought on 666 new places this year, which brings the figure to over 15,000 childcare places. We are about quality education. We are providing cost-free tuition through CIT for early childhood education to bring in the workforce capacity across the sector. So whilst there could be upward pressures, we are also going to create service provision improvements that will balance those along the line.

Battery cage eggs

MS LE COUTEUR: My question is to the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services and concerns the government’s approach to poultry welfare. Why has the ACT government failed to implement the model code of practice for welfare of poultry in the ACT, despite repeated calls from the ministerial council over many years to implement it as a matter of priority?

MR STANHOPE: I thank Ms Le Couteur for the question. I do not think it is fair to say that the government has failed to implement it. It is a voluntary code, accepted or adopted by industry. A voluntary code adopted by industry is a code for industry to implement on a voluntary basis.

I think at the heart of your question is a suggestion perhaps, a policy position to be put by the Greens, that the voluntary code should not be voluntary; it should be mandated or there should be a statutory requirement. I think the answer to your question is that the attitude adopted by this jurisdiction and, as I understand it, other jurisdictions around Australia is to pursue issues in relation to the codes as model, voluntary codes for adoption and implementation by industry.

I am aware of some earlier advice I have provided on this. I do not remember the specific detail of it. I find it perhaps best to take the question on notice and actually respond to you on the specifics of the question you asked on the way in which the codes operate so as not to mislead you or the Assembly. But that is my understanding.

I think there is a debate to be had on the enforceability of codes that impact on poultry farming, particularly caged egg production, and I am more than happy to come back

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