Page 1380 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 6 April 2011

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and be beneficial to the community as a whole. I also point out that there are some parts of the pet industry who are more progressive and thus more supportive.

As I said, this bill has been through a thorough process. This is perhaps illustrated by the fact I have received more submissions on this exposure draft on the bill than the government has told us that it has received on its draft waste strategy, which was a major exercise in government consultation.

The notable omission in terms of submissions, and it is very unfortunate, is from the government itself. So far the government has not yet engaged on this bill and did not provide a submission on the exposure draft, despite my specific request. I would urge the government to change its mind and provide some constructive feedback on this bill so that we can work together as an Assembly to craft a bill which will be in the best interests of the animals of the ACT.

To conclude, I would simply make the point that the ACT should and can be a leader in animal welfare. This bill takes a very important step to achieve this, particularly by addressing serious problems in breeding and selling of companion animals. I would also like to thank PCO for the excellent work they have done with the many changes that have been made between the two drafts of this bill and Matt Georgeson in my office for his hard work on this. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

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

Food (Nutritional Information) Amendment Bill 2011

Ms Bresnan, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MS BRESNAN (Brindabella) (10.21): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I am tabling this bill today because I believe we, as policy makers, must do more to provide leadership in preventative health and address major health issues such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

While this bill is only one part of the strategy to address these issues, every step counts. In today’s hectic world, more people are relying on fast food, and the more fast food a person eats, the more likely they are to gain weight and become at risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.

Obesity levels in the ACT have increased dramatically over the last 20 years and more than half of the ACT population is now considered to be overweight. The ACT Health Council is concerned that if trends in obesity do not reverse we may see a reduction in the life expectancies of the ACT population, with men reverting to 2001 levels and women to 1997 levels. No generation expects to see diminished life outcomes for its children. This is a significant matter and requires increased attention from policy makers.

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