Page 1567 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 19 May 1993

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Wednesday, 19 May 1993


MADAM SPEAKER (Ms McRae) took the chair at 10.30 am and read the prayer.


Debate resumed from 12 May 1993, on motion by Ms Szuty:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Wood: Madam Speaker, I think the best thing for us to do is to get on with these amendments. I think we generally seem to have agreement on them. We may have some further debate, which will be useful as we explore these important issues, but I would like now to get onto the next stage of consideration.

Ms Szuty: Madam Speaker, I hesitated to rise earlier because I believe that I close the debate at the in-principle stage.

MADAM SPEAKER: That is correct.

MR DE DOMENICO (10.32): Madam Speaker, when this Bill came before the house for consideration last Wednesday it was my understanding and the understanding of the Liberal Party that it was to be adjourned until the working party set up by the Minister had had time to consider all the suggested amendments, so that what we would finish up with would be a unanimous agreement from all parties concerned. We would then have the best result in amending the Dog Control Act, not a half-baked one and not a series of amendments from all sides of the house.

It was the Liberal Party's very clear impression, Madam Speaker, that there had been general agreement by the Government, the Opposition and Ms Szuty on the need to toughen and tighten the Dog Control Act to prevent, in the main, the occurrence of dog attacks in the ACT. Basically that is what it is all about. That is what brought on this legislation. That is why the Minister is consulting widely on it. What we are addressing is the need to bring a stop to the risks that our community is being exposed to with regard to dogs, in particular, dangerous dogs. Madam Speaker, we in the Liberal Party do not wish to obstruct the efforts of Ms Szuty in her attempts to meet this need. To that end, we will support her Bill. However, as I said in the house the other day, or Mr Westende in particular said the other day, it seems a pity to be debating this Bill when, in the not too distant future, we will be discussing further amendments to the Dog Control Act to achieve, in essence, the same goal as Ms Szuty.

What has become very clear to the Liberal Party since focusing on this issue is that the whole matter of dog control is a very complex one. There are not many people in our community not affected by it. What we come up with as an Assembly is therefore extremely important. It is one of those matters on which not one person, organisation or political party has the complete answer; rather, it is one where the solution lies in an amalgamation of thought and input.

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