Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 8 Hansard (14 August) . . Page.. 2855 ..
Neither the difficulties of designing an appropriate legislative scheme, nor the importance of the respect for private property or the autonomy of dog owners, requires a legislative regime which permits residents of Canberra to be put at risk by aggressive dogs owned by others.
Minister, given the long history of the issue of dangerous dogs and the comments of Justice Mossop, will you now acknowledge the need to work on a legislative response to the issue of dangerous dogs?
MS FITZHARRIS: I thank Mr Parton for the question and note the judgment handed down yesterday and the usual practice of ministers not commenting on those. But my understanding, based on media reporting, is that the incident in question happened many years ago. As members know, an entirely new piece of legislation was extensively debated and passed in this chamber last year.
MR PARTON: Minister, will you now admit that you were wrong to water down that bill that was introduced last year by the opposition in relation to dangerous dogs?
MS FITZHARRIS: It was not watered down. It was considerably strengthened, and debated extensively. Many of the amendments were indeed passed by the opposition.
MS LAWDER: Minister, will you now meet with me to discuss how we can pass legislation together to ensure that dangerous dogs are taken off the streets?
MS FITZHARRIS: Ms Lawder's question implies that she has asked to meet with me. I am certainly not aware of a request being received. If it has, I will follow up on that. There was considerable work done last year; I had lengthy discussions with the late Mr Doszpot about this matter. We have also canvassed these matters more extensively recently in an estimates committee. I am confident that the legislation last year and the extensive work done by Transport Canberra and City Services, particularly in the past 18 months, have significantly improved the legislation and the operations of domestic animal services.
I think that where we do have further work to do is in the broad community campaign—which has been underway and which will be extended—on ensuring that everyone in our community who owns a dog is fully aware of their own responsibilities in making sure that their dogs behave appropriately, are appropriately on a lead, and are safely fenced in a yard. There are many issues in our community, I know. There is only so much governments can do with legislation to make sure that people behave responsibly. There is very strong legislation in place. We will do more on community awareness and education.
Minister for Health and Wellbeing—government confidence
MS LAWDER: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, given the litany of failures under the watch of Minister Fitzharris, including failing more than 30 criteria in the draft hospital accreditation, only 50 per cent of patients being seen on time in Canberra Hospital during 2017-18, extensive blowouts in elective surgery