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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 22 March 2018) . . Page.. 1027 ..

(1) How many consultation activities did the ACT Government contribute to the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines Stakeholder Advisory Group during the development of the draft poultry industry code.

(2) Did the ACT Government provide any written submissions to the Stakeholder Advisory Group; if so, what were the contents of those submissions.

(3) What policy positions did the ACT Government advance during these negotiations.

(4) Will the ACT Government make a subsequent written submission to the public consultation on the draft poultry industry code; if so, what will be the recommendations in that submission.

Ms Fitzharris: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

(1) The ACT Government participated in the Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) for the development of the National Poultry Standards and Guidelines.

(2) The ACT Government did not make any formal submissions and supported the position of the majority of other jurisdictions.

(3) The ACT did not advance any policy positions, however the ACT has strong measures already in place to protect the welfare of laying hens. Amendments to the Animal Welfare Act were introduced in 2013 to improve and protect animal welfare by outlawing factory farming practices, namely battery cages for egg production.

(4) On 26 February 2018, Shane Rattenbury, Minister for Justice, Consumer Affairs and Road Safety and I provided a joint letter to Animal Health Australia on the proposed Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Poultry. The joint letter indicated the Government’s support for promoting high standards for animal welfare as well as opportunities for informed consumer choice.

The joint letter noted that the proposed guidelines no longer refer to criteria evidencing free-range conditions for laying hens. Instead, they introduce generalised requirements for caged and non-caged birds. This change would be inconsistent with the ACT’s Eggs (Labelling and Sale) Act 2001 (The Act) and the proposed Australian Consumer Law (Free Range Egg Labelling) Information Standard 2017. The Act and proposed Information Standard require clear labelling of free-range eggs to inform consumer choices.

The joint letter also expressed concern that the absence of free-range criteria had implications for the ability of consumers to make fully informed choices when purchasing eggs.

Children and young people—foster care
(Question No 910)

Ms Le Couteur asked the Minister for Disability, Children and Youth, upon notice, on 16 February 2018:

(1) In relation to respite care for carers of children in out-of-home care, what funded respite options exist for foster carers seeking support while providing care for children in out-of-home care.

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