Page 3838 - Week 12 - Thursday, 24 October 2013

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Consultation on the draft sales code was conducted over six weeks in 2012, including online submissions and three public meetings. Information was considered by AWAC in preparing the final draft.

I also would note the role that Mary Porter played in that. I know she took a great interest in it, including attending the sessions and the meeting with AWAC. I think that reflects her strong interest in animal welfare over a long period of time. So it was good to see members engaging in that process.

The community comments on the code were generally very supportive. I think that is also a good outcome, that we have a code that has come from both community input and a diverse membership group on AWAC. I think that underlines the quality of this code and the fact that I think it will work well, because of the way it has been developed.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Gentleman.

MR GENTLEMAN: Minister, what will these changes mean to people that want to buy pets in the ACT?

MR RATTENBURY: Thank you for the supplementary question. Given the various elements of the code that I have outlined, I think that what the code means is that people who are buying an animal in the ACT can have confidence that it has been well treated, and when they become its owner they know that it starts from a place of being healthy and, hopefully, without behavioural issues that can come if an animal has been abused.

This is great news for people who are buying pets. I would particularly encourage people, when they are buying a pet, to remember to think about the shelters in the ACT. We have many animals that have had a tough upbringing but despite that are great pets. Just last week I was out with ACT Rescue & Foster, who look after many dogs. The dogs that have been re-homed have become great pets. I met quite a few of them and their owners. It is a good example of what can be done.

But this is about making sure that, hopefully, more people are also responsible pet owners, that they have the skills to look after their pets, they are aware of the responsibilities that go with having a pet. Certainly, as part of the rollout, TAMS has written to stakeholders such as pet shops and other sellers to inform them about the code and to give them information on what it means, what obligations they have under the code. That will also mean that the community can have confidence if the animal sellers are well aware of their responsibilities.

The consequence of the code is that those who are buying pets can have that confidence that they are getting animals that have been well looked after.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Porter.

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