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Wednesday, 8 December 1999
Page: 11366


Senator STOTT DESPOJA (9:33 AM) —The Democrats oppose schedule 1 in the following terms:

(4) Schedule 1, item 26, page 19 (line 20) to page 21 (line 33), TO BE OPPOSED .

(5) Schedule 1, item 34, page 25 (line 14) to page 27 (line 26), TO BE OPPOSED .

The Democrats cannot support the increase of the ANZFA's regulatory powers to determine food regulatory measures independently of the health ministers of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Council. The bill as it stands enables the ANZFA to formally manage food standards and codes of practice without the additional mechanism for review, public input and information about food regulations and decisions that the health ministers meeting currently provides. We believe that this is an inadequate situation for the purposes of public consultation and public education, a theme that has been a feature of the debate about this bill.

Furthermore, the term `less significant' is not defined under the bill. It is not clear how extensive the new ANZFA's powers will be if this bill is enacted as it stands. Additionally, the 28-day turnaround period in which the health ministers can veto the ANZFA's decisions of less significance as proposed under the bill, we believe, is inadequate for consumer consultation and for lobbying. For these reasons the Democrats cannot support the increased regulatory powers of the ANZFA. Therefore, we seek to omit such changes under the bill.