Page 3432 - Week 11 - Thursday, 15 November 2007

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MRS BURKE: I seek leave to make a statement.

Leave granted.

MRS BURKE: Thank you. In a speech I gave to this Assembly on 14 November 2007, I made an inadvertent comment that Mr Mulcahy had alluded to the fact that we had a part-time minister. Mr Mulcahy did not allude to this fact at all.

Domestic Animals Amendment Bill 2007

Detail stage

Proposed new clause 9A.

Debate resumed.

MR SPEAKER: The Clerk has called on the Domestic Animals Amendment Bill. Mr Pratt, you have the call.

MR PRATT (Brindabella) (11.23): When I finished off on Tuesday, I had given an example: if I, in my suburb, owned a crossbreed-dingo cross, why should I not, as a responsible citizen, be asked to take protective measures? Of course, that also applies to other situations. If, for example, I owned an american pit bull terrier, a pit bull terrier or perhaps a japanese tosa or fila brasileiro—which have been deemed by other authorities in this country to be dangerous breed dogs—why shouldn’t the onus be put on me to secure my property so that the little children who live in my street are not endangered by that dog?

Sure, the dog does not necessarily have to be banned. People should be allowed to enjoy the ownership of that dog. Of course they should. That is what the opposition is saying. We are not about banning dogs. But we certainly are about identifying certain types of dogs which potentially create risk and which increase the risk in our neighbourhoods. If I want to be privileged enough to own such a dog in my neighbourhood, why shouldn’t the ACT government be asking me to take appropriate measures to secure that dog so that dog does not get off my property to perhaps endanger little children in my street—there are many living in my street—or the wildlife that might live up on Isaacs Ridge, close to where I live.

It is with that in mind that I have sought to introduce three amendments here today to add value to the government’s legislation. The government’s legislation is pretty good legislation; we have already said that we are going to support it. But we believe that there is a need here to add value to that legislation in the interests of community safety—in the interests of a duty of care responsibility. Later I will talk more about the specific breed issues.

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella—Minister for the Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Housing and Minister for Multicultural Affairs) (11.25): The government will not be supporting Mr Pratt’s amendment. We believe that the issue around dangerous dogs is dog specific, not breed specific. We accept the fact that some breeds are trained to be violent. We know that some breeds have the physicality

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