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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 12 Hansard (29 October) . .

Page.. 3757..

The community and expert reference group and peak bodies will also help us with our response. The CERG have already discussed the ramifications of the program at length, and they will meet tomorrow to establish actions from here now that an announcement has been made.

I am also aware that the broader Canberra community will want to play a supporting role, as it did with the fires and as we always do in times when local Canberrans are going through a difficult time. The CERG will provide us with further advice on ways that we can encourage that kind of community support.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Hanson.

MR HANSON: Chief Minister, will the demolition scheme be voluntary or will home owners who wish not to engage in the scheme be forcibly evicted?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank the Leader of the Opposition for the question. The intention is not to forcibly evict anybody, but, as I said yesterday, the intention is to have every one of these houses demolished over time, and the sooner the better. That is the very clear advice from the task force. It is not only the people living in the homes who may be able to make choices about their own exposure; it is the fact that these homes would still have to be accessed by tradespeople, and presumably visitors, and there is a range of issues there that the government needs to respond to. I do not want to use the term "compulsory". The scheme is being established as a voluntary buyback scheme. However, we will need to consider options should people refuse to vacate their homes.

Animals—dangerous dogs

MR WALL: My question is to the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services. Minister, victims of a dog attack in Richardson have contacted me about the processes used to determine the suitability of returning a dangerous dog back to the scene of an attack. The victim in this case received significant injuries as a result of an unprovoked attack from a neighbour's dog whilst the dog was restrained on a lead. The registrar has since determined that this dog is dangerous but could return to its owner under restricted conditions. Minister, what criteria are used to determine if a dog is dangerous?

MR RATTENBURY: I am afraid I do not have the specific criteria to hand. I would not want to perhaps generalise them and give the Assembly a non-complete picture on this. I will undertake to provide them on notice to Mr Wall, probably by the end of question time today.

But what I can inform the house is that in these circumstances there is a balance to be drawn between protecting the public and allowing owners to keep their dogs. Certainly this comes through in the amendments we made to the legislation earlier this year where we separated out the offences of harass and attack so that this gives Domestic Animal Services a clearer set of guidelines and a clearer ability to apply penalties to particular animals.

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