Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 9 May 2018) . . Page.. 1703 ..
The top priority is responding to reported dog attacks and dog-related incidents that have the potential to cause harm.
This focus means that lower priority or less serious concerns may not be able to be addressed immediately. This is not a reflection of resourcing or staff capability. Rather, it is an indication that the government is taking its responsibility seriously by ensuring that the highest risk activities are managed appropriately.
I can assure members that DAS is acutely aware of the need for timely and accurate communication with the community, particularly in relation to complaints and requests for service. In the vast majority of cases, members of our community understand that it may take some time to address lower priority issues. In these cases people are comfortable with that, provided that they are kept informed. This customer focus is a key component of the ongoing training being provided to DAS staff, and a central part of a positive and engaged workplace culture.
In relation to the incident that Ms Lawder has outlined, it is certainly the case that there was a complex investigation behind this. I do not want to go into details in the chamber, to protect the identity of all those involved. It is often the case that there are quite complex investigations behind each of those. It is correct that the attacking dogs in Ms Colless’s situation have both been euthanised. I also note that this attack happened prior to the new legislation coming into force. The new legislation, since coming into force, has enabled DAS to have more effective mechanisms to investigate dog attacks.
In closing, I consider that DAS is currently operating in a sound and well-managed way, and has adequate resources to fulfil its functions. I am confident that, in the coming months and years, DAS will continue to make solid progress towards making the ACT a leader in animal welfare and management, and ensuring Canberra remains a livable and pet-friendly city. I certainly am able to provide further information, as Ms Lawder has requested. I have circulated an amendment to the original motion, and I now move that amendment:
Omit all words after “That this Assembly”, substitute:
“(1) notes that:
(a) the management of dogs and prevention of dog attacks is of interest and concern to the ACT Government and the community;
(b) the Government takes the regulation of dogs, particularly dangerous dogs, very seriously with heavy penalties available where people do not follow the rules;
(c) following a concerted campaign from the late Steve Doszpot MLA, on 29 November 2017, amendments to strengthen the Domestic Animals Act 2000 (the Act) were passed by the ACT Legislative Assembly;
(d) the amendments focus on responsible dog ownership and public safety, whilst also considering animal welfare outcomes and recognising the benefits that owning a dog can bring to individuals and the community; and