Page 2511 - Week 08 - Thursday, 30 June 2005

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Fourthly, given that the ACT has no cat pound, cats will need to be housed while their ownership status is determined. Temporary housing will be provided by the RSPCA, or by commercial catteries, on a fee-for-service basis. For seized cats whose owners can be identified and notified, cat owners will be charged the temporary housing and other costs on a full cost-recovery basis, using the existing act’s powers to set fees. For seized cats with no owners that are either sold or destroyed, the government will meet housing, feeding and any veterinary costs.

The fifth way concerns the release and disposal of seized cats. The amendments for the release of seized cats to their owners are similar to those already in place for dogs. In cases of hardship, there is provision for waiving all or part of the fees payable by owners of seized cats and, as minister, I may develop guidelines for this purpose. Owners may give up ownership of a seized cat if they wish. These cats may be either sold to new owners or destroyed. There is a seven-day holding period for cats while ownership is determined, the same as for dogs.

My department will fund the costs of implementing these amendments within the priorities established for 2005-06 in the budget development process. Media, education and signage costs are estimated at $30,000 over two years. The estimated cost of training for rangers, vehicle outfitting and one additional half-time ranger is $75,000 in 2005-06 and $50,000 per annum thereafter. Veterinary and database services are estimated at $20,000 per annum. The cost of introducing compulsory microchipping in the cat curfew area and at point of sale, progressively over a three-year period, will be met by the local pet industry and cat owners, not by government.

My department has developed a two-stage media and education strategy to coincide with the introduction of the bill. The first stage media strategy explains the government’s objectives in declaring a cat curfew area in Gungahlin and the second stage will explain to the public the detailed legislation changes. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

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


MR SPEAKER: I acknowledge the presence in the gallery of a former MLA, Michael Moore. Welcome, Michael.

Litter Amendment Bill 2005

Mr Hargreaves, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella—Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (11.07): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

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