The Hon. T.A. FRANKS ( 14:45 :24 ): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Business and Consumer Services a question about free-range eggs.
The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: Previously we have heard that this government is progressing a voluntary code for South Australian accredited free-range eggs. The minister has also previously informed this place that she has 'participated in national forums, ministerial council forums—most of which have now been disbanded by the current Liberal federal government', and noting that this issue 'has been strongly pushed and championed by South Australia', and that this was 'the best way to proceed through a nationally consistent approach'. However, as she informed this chamber in June last year, that had not been possible due to the other jurisdictions not being willing to be on board.
My questions to the minister are: does the minister still believe that a national approach is the best way forward on true free-range egg labelling? Will the government commit not to put all of their true free-range egg labels in one basket and persist with a national approach given we have a new government in Queensland, a new government in Victoria and, in 10 days, possibly a new government in New South Wales?
The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for Employment, Higher Education and Skills, Minister for Science and Information Economy, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for Business Services and Consumers) ( 14:46 :39 ): Don't count your chickens before they hatch.
The Hon. T.A. Franks interjecting:
The Hon. G.E. GAGO: Exactly. I have spoken about this on a number of occasions in this place and my view is that the best way to address the issue of consumer information, including that around egg labelling, is to have a nationally consistent approach. I think we are a net importer of eggs here in South Australia, but whether it is eggs or other produce, it flows across borders and in and out of the country. My view is that the best approach is to have a nationally consistent approach: one rule for all products so that we are not imposing particular imposts on just South Australian businesses and not other business—for instance, requiring certain labelling standards and not in other states could have an adverse impact on South Australian businesses.
I am very keen not to put all my eggs into one basket. I will continue to pursue opportunities for a national approach. The Hon. Tammy Franks is absolutely right: the ground keeps shifting. There are always new players around the federal table. I think we have a COAG consumer forum coming up in the not-too-distant future so I will not give up the struggle.