Page 244 - Week 01 - Thursday, 15 December 2016
The bill inserts a new item into the schedule of reviewable decisions in the Domestic Animal Regulation 2000 to make it clear that a person who has been attacked or harassed by a dog or a person whose animal has been attacked or harassed by a dog is able to seek review of the registrar’s decision to issue a dangerous dog licence in the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal. This will improve the administrative efficiency of tribunal matters, as the issue of whether the victim of a dog attack is able to request a review of the registrar’s decision to grant a licence to keep a dangerous dog will no longer need to be debated in the tribunal.
In the previous financial year the Domestic Animals Services unit investigated 360 dog attacks and seized 124 dogs. The legislative change reflects contemporary views that victims of attacks should be able to appeal decisions relating to the declaration of a dog as dangerous and its release on conditions.
The proposed amendment allows the victims of dog attacks to ensure that their concerns are taken into consideration and that dog owners’ rights are not put ahead of community safety. This is in line with the overarching purpose of the domestic animals legislation, which is to secure the safety of the public.
This bill also makes small technical amendments to the Domestic Animal Act 2000 to clarify the registrar’s ability to issue a dangerous dog licence in a situation where the dog was declared dangerous after it was seized. This change legitimises the registrar’s decision to declare a dog dangerous after it is seized.
The final act the bill amends is the Public Unleased Act 2013. Currently section 28 of the Public Unleased Land Act provides an offence for placing a moveable sign, such as an election campaign sign, on public unleased land if it fails to comply with the moveable signs code of practice. However, it does not enable a police officer or authorised person to remove a sign that is in breach of the act. The proposed amendment corrects this administrative oversight by inserting a new section 28A to enable an authorised person or police officer to take to a retention area a moveable sign on public unleased land that does not comply with the moveable signs code of practice.
As we have recently seen, Mr Assistant Speaker, the placement of signs, particularly during an election, can be a source of frustration for members of the public. By allowing an authorised person or police officer to remove a sign that does not comply with the code of practice, we will be able to reduce potential hazards on roadsides and ensure the code of practice is upheld. The amendment further improves the laws that govern the use of public land and is in line with the ACT government’s commitment to providing quality urban open space for the community.
The Transport Canberra and City Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 puts forward technical amendments that do not reflect major changes in government policies. However, the proposed amendments provide greater clarity to better administer the law. I commend the bill to the Assembly
Debate (on motion by Mr Doszpot) adjourned to the next sitting.