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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (20 June) . . Page.. 2274 ..

Adult Entertainment and Restricted Material Bill 2000

Debate resumed from 24 May 2000, on motion by Mr Rugendyke:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Debate (on motion by Mr Smyth ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Dog Registration Fees

MR CORBELL (11.33): I move:

That this Assembly calls on the ACT Government to review the schedule of fees for dog registration and licences in the Territory in consultation with relevant stakeholders.

Because of the lateness of the hour I will be relatively brief. Mr Speaker, this is a motion which the Labor Party has decided to put forward this evening following a range of representations from dog owners in the ACT, particularly owners involved in dog breeding and dog shows. Concerns have been raised with the Labor Party about the extent and the unfair nature of the new fee structure for dog registration in the ACT. Far from being a process which seems to encourage people to get their animals properly trained and properly cared for, it seems to affect in a rather unfair way those who breed dogs and those who show dogs.

Mr Speaker, I will outline the background to this. The new fees and registration process is part of changes to the Animal Welfare Act and the other piece of legislation which was passed by the Assembly late last year in relation to the process for registering and caring for dogs and for cats. As I understand it, new fees were gazetted and were made available for disallowance last year. Unfortunately, the concerns raised by breeders in particular only recently have been brought to my and other Labor members' attention. For that reason we were not aware of the need to disallow the proposed fee structure. Instead, I have moved this motion this evening.

Mr Speaker, I will briefly outline some of the rather unfair elements of the costs for registration and licensing of dogs. The most significant cost is the permit to keep a dog or a cat sexually entire. Mr Speaker, that is the government's language, not mine. Clearly it means a dog which is able to breed; a dog that is able to be bred for show purposes. The cost is $250 and then you need to pay a registration renewal each year of $12. That is a significant impost, Mr Speaker, and an unfair one, particularly for breeders who breed responsibly, who train their animals and who then seek to sell them to other people who wish to show them or who wish to care for the animal. $250 an animal is a significant impost, even if it is a one-off charge. The proposal to require someone to pay a fee to keep four or more dogs, as well as the renewal of a licence to keep four or more dogs, is also a considerable impost. A licence application to keep four or more dogs costs $72, and it costs $20 per year for the renewal of a licence.

These are significant costs, and they really do have an impact on breeders in the territory. I was surprised to learn, Mr Speaker, that the government had not consulted directly with organisations like the Australian Canine Association, the ACT branch of that

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