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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 19 September 2018) . . Page.. 3745 ..

continue? Even worse, they are mauled and left to die a slow, painful death while their owners do everything they can—and they are usually absolutely willing to do everything they can—to patch up their beloved pet with expensive operations and round the clock care.

I also mention the tragic problem of dog attacks on guide dogs. In April this year a client survey by Guide Dogs NSW/ACT found that 50 per cent, or one in two handlers, had reported attacks on their dog by another dog. In serious cases, the guide dog had to be retired, at great emotional and financial cost. The government’s independent report highlights the wider cost to the community:

There is a significant community cost as a consequence of dog bites … There is also a quantifiable cost to the broader community as a result of dog attacks. This includes a burden on the public medical sector as a result of hospitalization; use of government resources to respond to community complaints of roaming and/or menacing dogs, and to investigate and action dog attacks, and costs to the judicial system when responding to civil and/or criminal litigation following an attack.

Madam Speaker, the Canberra Liberals will keep pressing the government to make Canberra safer for people and their pets. We will continue to bring forward recommendations and bills to achieve that. This is a continuing effort to get this government to address the issue of dog management in Canberra.

This is the first of our next lot of proposed amendments. We are bringing forward a number of quite specific, targeted proposals, rather than bringing forward a very wide range of amendments all at once, because the Domestic Animals Act is quite a complex act. It has been patched here and there over the years.

On the basis of our continuing active public consultation, we are flagging that we are bringing more proposals to the Assembly in the future until the ACT’s dog management laws make the city safer for our people and our pets. This exposure draft is being added to the legislation register to enable interested Canberrans and stakeholders to provide feedback. They can also provide feedback via our ongoing survey.

In conclusion, this government has been reluctant for years to address the serious and growing issues of dangerous dogs in Canberra. At the Canberra Liberals’ continual urging, they have tried a couple of bandaid solutions on what has been and continues to be a haemorrhaging problem. The government has had to deal with and continues to deal with the tragic results of this negligence. They have been dragged kicking and screaming at every point to make changes to dog legislation.

I would like to thank the many constituents who have shared their sometimes tragic and traumatic experience of dog attacks and who have provided suggestions and feedback so far. In echoing Mr Doszpot’s words, I hope that the government, and Minister Steel in particular, approach this exposure draft in a productive, collaborative and bipartisan way. On Mr Steel’s first day after he was appointed, I wrote a letter to him offering a collaborative approach to the issue of dog control. I am sure the answer to my letter will be coming very shortly.

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