Page 478 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

that have been taken into our care and protection system and that they are also going to be afforded the same sorts of opportunities to be able to seek assistance if they choose to.

As I said, there is no reason to go on with this debate at this time. I thank everybody involved in getting this reform through, and I am very pleased that we have been able to pass legislation on this matter.

Question resolved in the negative.

Food Amendment Bill 2011

Debate resumed from 8 December 2011, on motion by Ms Gallagher:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR HANSON (Molonglo) (11.12): I foreshadow that the Canberra Liberals will be supporting this bill. We have seen some spin from Katy Gallagher trying to suggest that somehow the evil Canberra Liberals are against food safety. Again, I would urge members and members of the community to acknowledge that for what it is—a politically motivated press release from Katy Gallagher. The point I have made consistently is that we must not allow the spin that we have seen, the PR, as a result of this piece of legislation, regardless of its merits, to cover up for some significant failures in the administration of food safety in the ACT, and I will talk more about that as I move forward.

Generally speaking, we can be very confident in the ACT that food safety standards in our restaurants are good. Some 99 per cent, or some high number, are doing the right thing, and it is a very small number that do not. It is important as we have this debate that we do not move into any sort of hysterical fear that when we go out to eat in Canberra we are not safe. In the great majority of cases and places we have very good standards of food safety.

We need to be confident that the authorities are doing what they need to do to maintain food safety across the ACT and that we have an effective legislative regime. What this bill does not do is address some of the failings that were identified in the Auditor-General’s report into the management of food safety in the ACT, and I will quote from that:

… there are shortcomings in the regulation and administration of food safety that need to be addressed to provide the community with assurance that the food they buy and eat is safe.

What the Auditor-General found is that the Health Protection Service of ACT Health had poor documentation and record-keeping practices, was unable to inspect food premises within targeted time frames, enforcement documentation on files on the database was incomplete or inaccurate, and, worryingly, that it did not have the policies or procedures in place to respond to food-borne illnesses and outbreaks. This bill does not address those concerns. I have been assured by staff that they are being

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video