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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 5 April 2016) . . Page.. 1082 ..

Question put:

That schedule 1 be agreed to.

The Assembly voted—

Ayes 7

Noes 6

Mr Barr

Ms Fitzharris

Mr Coe

Ms Lawder

Ms Berry

Mr Hinder

Mr Doszpot

Mr Wall

Dr Bourke

Mr Rattenbury

Mrs Dunne

Mr Corbell

Mr Hanson

Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Schedule 1 agreed to.

Remainder of bill, by leave, taken as a whole and agreed to.

Bill agreed to.

Animal Welfare Amendment Bill 2016

Debate resumed from 10 March 2016, on motion by Ms Fitzharris:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR COE (Ginninderra) (12.02): The opposition will be supporting the Animal Welfare Amendment Bill 2016. The bill amends the Animal Welfare Act to improve animal welfare by improving the offence provisions included in the act as well as the powers of inspectors and the court to intervene to prevent cruelty.

The bill amends the definition of cruelty to clarify the elements of cruelty. The new definition makes the physical and objective elements of a cruelty offence clear so that the court is no longer required to determine a person’s intention in order to conclude that they have been cruel to an animal.

The bill introduces the concept of a duty to care for an animal. The duty requires a person to take reasonable steps to provide for the animal’s needs in an appropriate way. This includes basic needs like food, water, accommodation and treatment for illness, disease or injury. The duty of care also includes a requirement to provide the animal with appropriate opportunity to display behaviour that is normal for the animal. This provision is quite vague but the government has assured the opposition that similar provisions in other jurisdictions are working well. The provisions give the power to the court to determine whether a person has breached their duty of care, taking into consideration the species, environment and circumstances of the animal as well as what a reasonable person would do in the circumstances.

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