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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 30 July 2019) . . Page.. 2385 ..


finalises its report. I commend the report to the Assembly. I present the following paper:

Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission—Investigation into Petrol Prices and Competition in the ACT—Final Report—Ministerial statement, 30 July 2019.

I move:

That the Assembly take note of the paper.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Animal Welfare Legislation Amendment Bill 2019

Debate resumed from 16 May 2019, on motion by Mr Steel:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Reference to committee

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (11.43): Pursuant to standing order 174, I move:

That the Animal Welfare Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 be referred to the Standing Committee on Environment and Transport and City Services for inquiry and report by the last sitting day in 2019.

On behalf of Ms Lawder, who has been called away, I move this motion to refer the Animal Welfare Legislation Amendment Bill to the Standing Committee on Environment and Transport and City Services for inquiry and report by the end of this year. We do this because it is a complex bill; it amends 10 acts and regulations and some of the amendments arrived only yesterday.

This is a novel bill; the media release by the minister in May said that it was an Australian first for the ACT to recognise animal sentience in law. By his own admission Minister Steel said that this was novel legislation and that no other state or territory has had similar legislation. The Liberal opposition believes there is to some extent a rush to go down this path without proper public consideration of the issues in what is by the minister’s own admission novel legislation.

The scrutiny committee has raised a number of serious issues, including the right to the presumption of innocence and the right to a fair trial. The issues also rest around the idea that animal welfare is of paramount consideration under the law. While no-one would disagree that animal welfare is very important and characteristic of a modern and compassionate society, there is a question as to whether there should be paramount placement of this right under the law.

While the minister has replied to the scrutiny report questions, there should be a much wider debate on these issues involving the public before we go down what is by the minister’s own admission a very novel approach.


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