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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (20 June) . . Page.. 2275 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

organisation, when it came to determining these fees. This is in marked contrast to the approach taken by the previous Labor government when we were last in office and the minister was Mr Wood, who did sit down and consult directly with representatives of the ACA on the impact that a new fee structure would have on their membership.

Let's not underestimate the extent of this responsible dog-owning community. There are over 1,000 breeders or people who show their animals. That is not an insignificant community in the ACT. It seems that the government has not properly consulted, or in fact has not consulted at all really, with the Australian Canine Association and yet is imposing these new fees which are quite an impost.

Let me, in contrast, draw members' attention to the fact that in New South Wales the permit to keep a cattle dog sexually entire, far from being from $250, is, I understand, $100. That is a significant difference. The government talks a lot about keeping our taxes and charges in line with New South Wales, but it would appear to me that they are not doing so on this occasion.

I think the government needs to go out and talk with the community affected. We all want to see people who are backyard breeders, people who do not responsibly breed or care for their animals, suffer the sanction of the law, but we do not think that that sanction should be applied to people who conduct themselves in a responsible manner.

Mr Speaker, I urge members to support this motion this evening. It asks the government to go out and review the schedule of fees for dog registration and licences in the ACT in consultation with relevant stakeholders such as the Australian Canine Association. Hopefully, through that process, the Labor Party can see that the government is properly addressing these concerns and responding to them in a way which does not impose such harsh penalties on breeders in the ACT.

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Business, Tourism and the Arts and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (11.40): Mr Speaker, the government does not have a dilemma with this motion tonight simply because the review called for by Mr Corbell is already under way. Why is it under way? Because we have been talking to the ACT Canine Association. They brought to my attention and the attention of the department perceived anomalies in the dog registration and licence fee schedule of the Domestic Animals Act 2000.

At issue is the fee for the permit to keep an entire dog born after 21 June this year. This is set at $250, similar to the cost of desexing an animal. The purpose of the fee is to make owners think seriously about the need to keep their animal entire. The concern expressed by the Canine Association is that members are required to keep entire animals to compete in dog shows and that the $250 fee discriminates against them.

When viewed as a total package, though, it can be seen that over the life of an average dog the new fees do not disadvantage those who keep their dogs entire. For the owner of one entire dog the old scheme imposed an initial registration fee of $50 and a renewal fee of $34.75 a year. The new scheme has an initial free registration, a renewal fee of $12, and a permit to keep the dog sexually entire fee of $250. So after 10 years the owner would have paid $362.75 under the old scheme, while under the new scheme the cost to

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