Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 29 March 2017) . . Page.. 1219 ..
why and I am very disappointed. Nevertheless, if it is not supported I will continue the work that I have already outlined today and in previous sittings. We will see some changes in this space, but I am very disappointed that the opposition will be voting against this amendment.
MR DOSZPOT (Kurrajong) (12.11): I am speaking to the amendment. In response to the minister’s comments, last night my office received representations from the minister’s office about the likelihood of the government supporting our motion, and a number of issues were brought up that we were asked to consider. We accepted every one of those issues we were asked to consider. We considered and accepted them. Last night we rang the minister’s office telling them what we had done, and we did that in good faith based on the information that we had last night. In case the minister is wondering why we are so surprised, it is that a number of changes have been made.
Some of the information on dog attacks that you are querying is information that has come from your office or government offices. This whole issue about addressing what needs to be done is that we are reflecting not only our views but the community views. We have here today people who are dog owners and also victims of dog attacks. They are very much aware of the issues that confront them and the rest of our community.
The Canberra Times, has looked into this in depth, and it is probably a good time to remind ourselves of this. A Canberra Times editorial states:
Pet owners need to take responsibility for registering their dogs, their dogs’ behaviour and knowing where they are at all times.
But the ACT government also needs to ensure that appropriate legislation is in place and that deterrents are strong enough to force a change of behaviour.
The harrowing story the Toscans have shared about the attack on their dog is certainly confronting and was upsetting to all who witnessed it. But imagine if instead of a dog the victim was a young child?
That is why this is not an issue to be taken lightly and the opposition is taking the right step in pushing for action in the ACT Legislative Assembly.
Laws are not the silver bullet but they are part of what could be the solution for the city.
Minister, you stated in your address that you referred to the amendments that have already been made and how this is helping us address the real issues. I remind you of the amendments you refer to where the victims are given more opportunities to address the situation. What is happening in the Toscan case where a dog was killed by three dogs belonging to the same owner? Those dogs destroyed a pet in the most horrendous of circumstances, yet a few months later these very same dogs are not even declared to be dangerous dogs. No, they are given back to the owner and the owner receives absolutely no penalty whatsoever but—and this is quite incredible—the walkers who actually took the dogs for a walk are fined $360 each. The owner, the person who should be responsible, the person who should be aware of his or her obligations, was not fined. These are the issues we are trying to bring to your attention, minister.