Page 1758 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 4 May 2011

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essentially asking that I and the government revoke our undertakings to the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, that I revoke my undertakings to this Assembly and that I revoke my undertakings to the people of the territory to consult with them on the first-ever mandatory code of practice for animal welfare to be crafted in the ACT. Ms Le Couteur and her colleagues today would say that Ms Porter should revoke her undertaking in relation to the discussion paper which she initiated before the Greens introduced this legislation, should revoke her undertaking to consult with the people of Canberra.

The ACT Greens are fully aware that these processes were in place, that they are underway, and it is a matter of enormous regret that they have chosen to undermine the process of consultation with the Canberra community. It is regrettable that they have chosen to show such disrespect to the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee in the way that they have.

The government has in discussions over the last few days sought to have this matter adjourned, that it not be brought on today. It is being brought on today. The government has made its position to the Greens very clear—that we are not prepared to support this bill in this environment. The government’s position is, quite simply, that we will not support it.

MR COE (Ginninderra) (11.12): The Canberra Liberals oppose the Animal Welfare Legislation Amendment Bill 2011.

When it comes down it, I do not believe this bill will significantly improve the welfare of animals in the territory and I too am not happy with the process that has been followed.

This bill, I believe, is much more about the Greens grandstanding than it is about the general welfare of animals in the territory. At its best this bill is irresponsible and at its worst it is a vendetta on the pet industry which I believe serves our community well. It is an attack on the thousands of Canberrans who have bought animals from pet stores and who are happy and responsible pet owners.

In Canberra and elsewhere people acquire animals from a number of sources such as pet stores; animal shelters, including the RSPCA; and breeders. In mentioning the RSPCA I acknowledge the presence of Michael Linke, who is in the gallery. Michael is a tireless advocate for animal welfare and, whilst I do disagree with him on this particular bill, I very much respect his commitment to the cause and I look forward to seeing him and others at the Million Paws Walk on 15 May.

For this bill to focus on pet stores, which at most provide about 15 per cent of cats or dogs to the market, is irresponsible. Therefore, with this bill to target pet stores the Greens are implying a correlation between the sale of cats and dogs from pet stores and problems with animals thereafter. So, in effect, what the Greens are saying is that people that purchase cats and dogs from pet stores pose a greater risk to their animals and to their community than those that acquire their animals from elsewhere. This is absurd and is an attack on thousands of Canberrans who are responsible pet owners and who have sought the confidence and reduced risk that purchasing an animal from a pet store can provide.

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