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Food Amendment Bill No. 51 of 2015 - Second Reading

Mrs Armitage (Launceston) - Mr President, on the face of it, it does seem confusing - and I have spoken to councils as well - as has been mentioned by the member for Windermere, whether it simply relates to the food licence or whether it relates to where people can actually set up. This is a question I do have for the Leader. One of the councils I spoke to said they had been contacted regarding this bill. While they did not express any concern, they actually did have some concern. Their concern was with regard to the continuing need for compliance and regulation checks, and the fact that they may not be getting the money in for the licence but they will be required to do the compliance checks. They were wondering whether they will be able to charge a fee, to do the check. When a van, or whatever it might be - it might not always be a van, as was mentioned by the member for Elwick previously - is operating in a particular council area, the Health department or the health staff are required to check to make sure they are operating within requirements but they have not received the money. That was an issue raised with me - the need for compliance and requirements do not go away, however there will not be the fees.

The member for Windermere asked me about the policy of Launceston City Council. From memory, that had been going on for probably two years during my time on council. Many issues were raised regarding how far away people could set up from mainly takeaway places, and that was a real concern. At one stage, some groups wanted 500 metres, but it was felt that 500 metres would possibly be too far, and would prohibit - particularly what was mentioned by the member for Rosevears - the vans up on High Street near a park. If it was 500 metres, they would not be able to operate there. The best of my memory is, while this had been back to the council's strategic planning for discussion, I have never seen it go through. I do not believe it has gone into policy. I did try to reach the director responsible. I left him messages, but unfortunately he has not been able to get back to me, to tell me if it has gone through. I have not seen it go through. I had seen many discussions on it, and I had read they had discussions on it, but it was always a little bit too difficult to try and find the consensus.

I think that happened sometimes. While it was discussed, and it was decided how much money might be charged - from memory, it was going to be along the lines that if people were from the mall, for example, renting a certain area with tables and chairs, that it would be charged a similar area for being out in the streets in the residential area. They are filling that much footpath with people standing. Also, concern was raised about danger of a lot of people on the footpath and close to the road. Those issues had been all raised with Launceston City Council, but the best of my memory I do not believe - I know it was not during my time. There has only been just 12 months now, 11 months, since the last election. I do not believe it has gone back to council. That is an issue that does remain, but it is a separate issue.

I believe the Leader had a call from the Minister for Health earlier. He pointed out that he would have some answers for me with regard to the Food Amendment Bill. My understanding is that this Food Amendment Bill is purely for the licence, not for where people can actually go and where they can set up. That comes under either the council by-law, or policy of individual councils, as to the requirements of being allowed to set up within 200 metres, or 100 metres, as the member for Windermere pointed out. I do not think they are the same thing.

The people I spoke to at council did not think they were the same thing. Their main concern was the fact that how did they meet compliance requirements when they are not getting a fee and whether they can actually charge a fee to look at compliance for some of these food outlets that are setting up. I know with Festivale, for example, we have many people from Hobart and from around the state come to the event. Of course, Launceston City Council would be required to check out the compliance for those, but they will not have received any licence fees - which they would not have anyway - because of these people from other parts of the state. There are a few anomalies there. I will appreciate some answers from the Leader.

Mr Gaffney (Mersey) - Does Festivale only charge them to bring their food on site for their fees?

Mrs Armitage - For the plan. The planning fee.

Mr Gaffney - For Festivale they charge them?

Mrs Armitage - Yes.

Mr Gaffney - Yes, so they can still pay.

Mrs Armitage - This is the council that was concerned that, with the legislation that is before us, if they are operating in the area normally, they would do compliance checks. They may not be getting the fee. Someone may go to a council where they are working that perhaps is cheaper, or in another area, but they might predominately do their work in this particular council, and occasionally work another council, and get their registration there. The council is doing all the work, but not receiving any money. That was a concern, as you can appreciate.

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