Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 28 October 2015) . . Page.. 3792 ..
Tammy Ven Dange and her team do a great job, whether it is rescuing kittens, shearing overgrown sheep or assisting dogs to find their forever home. We must help them to continue to do their good work. Animal management in the ACT is regulated through the Animal Welfare Act 1992, the Domestic Animals Act 2000 and the Nature Conservation Act 1980. The Animal Welfare Act regulates offences related to animals, such as animal cruelty, and is administered by the Territory and Municipal Services Directorate.
The act provides the framework for standards for the care and use of animals that achieves a reasonable balance between the welfare of animals and that of their owners. The act also has a range of enforcement powers to promote and monitor acceptable standards of care and protect animals from cruelty or welfare offences. In addition, the act allows the chief executive to appoint inspectors for the purposes of enforcing the act. Officers from within the RSPCA have been appointed as inspectors due to their outstanding knowledge of the types of actions or omissions of actions that constitute an offence under the act.
Under the current arrangement, the RSPCA operates an animal welfare inspectorate with responsibilities that include responding to and investigating allegations of neglect, suffering and the abuse of animals; referring for prosecution alleged offenders for breaches of the Animal Welfare Act 1992; and providing shelter and care for seized animals. The RSPCA ACT is also responsible for the provision of an animal shelter, which includes providing care for stray and surrendered cats, dogs and other domestic animals; housing seized, surrendered, stray and injured cats, dogs and other animals; and providing education to the ACT community to promote responsible pet ownership and the importance of animal welfare.
The RSPCA ACT is funded by the ACT government to provide these services. The current service funding agreement for 2015-16 provides funding of $698,124. Work is about to commence on a new service funding agreement.
In addition to the work undertaken by the RSPCA ACT, the Territory and Municipal Services Directorate also have officers who are responsible for ensuring the welfare of animals in the ACT. The government is currently working on a broad range of strategies that include the delivery of animal welfare services in the ACT.
The ACT government has been at the forefront of the development of animal welfare legislation in Australia. In 2000 the ACT became the first jurisdiction in Australia to ban the tail docking of dogs, and this has subsequently been adopted in every other state and territory. In 2001 the ACT became the first jurisdiction to make the desexing of dogs and cats compulsory by six months of age unless a permit is obtained to keep them intact. Compulsory desexing for cats is now required in Western Australia, and in South Australia the government is considering legislation similar to that of the ACT after a community consultation came out in favour of the move.
A more recent example of ACT government reform, as you know, Madam Deputy Speaker, from all your good work, is the new animal breeding legislation to outlaw puppy and kitten farms in the ACT, introduced on 15 September 2015. Breeders will