Page 352 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 14 February 2017

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This change will reflect contemporary views that victims of dog attacks should be able to appeal decisions about the declaration of a dangerous dog and its conditions of release. It will improve the administrative efficiency of tribunal matters. The issue of whether the victim of a dog attack can 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 year to 30 June 2016, the Domestic Animal Services unit investigated 360 dog attacks and seized 124 dogs. Resolving the issue through this regulatory amendment will minimise unnecessary time spent in the tribunal to debate such issues. The proposed amendment will ensure that the concerns of dog attack victims are taken seriously and that the rights of dog owners are not put ahead of community safety. This is in line with the overarching purpose of the domestic animals legislation, to ensure the safety of the public.

The bill also makes small technical amendments to the Domestic Animals 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.

Madam Assistant Speaker, just to acknowledge other comments made by those members including, notably, Ms Cheyne, who is well known for walking her two dogs around her electorate of Ginninderra, and also Mr Doszpot’s comments, certainly dangerous dogs and the management and responsibility of pet owners in the ACT is high on my list of priorities, as noted in my ministerial statement last year.

There is a substantial piece of work underway on animal welfare policy. Once I have received that and it has been made available for public comment—it has already had considerable input from the Animal Welfare Advisory Council—this work will underpin future work on further regulatory and legislative changes that we need, which will include ensuring that we have responsible pet ownership here in the ACT. That follows on from the changes made last year to legislation which strengthened the ability of the government to pursue animal neglect cases as well.

Certainly the discussion that we had across the chamber when these minor and technical amendments to the Public Unleased Land Act were first put forward was before the Assembly resolved to have a committee into the 2016 election. I certainly support the move to have these amendments to the Public Unleased Land Act taken into consideration by that committee.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Detail stage

Bill, by leave, taken as a whole.

MR COE (Yerrabi—Leader of the Opposition) (11.23): I move that part 4, clause 7 be omitted.

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