Page 4682 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 31 October 2017

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Animals—dangerous dogs

MR WALL: My question is to the Minister for Transport and City Services. Minister, there were 389 dog attacks in 2016-17 reported to the Transport Canberra and City Services Directorate. There were 155 presentations at hospital emergency departments for dog attacks in 2016. Most recently there was a fatal dog attack in Watson. The dog was known to your directorate. In your ministerial statement on your one year of delivery you failed to even mention the issue of dangerous dogs. Minister, in your first-year achievements in relation to the control of dangerous dogs, what have been the measurable outcomes?

MS FITZHARRIS: I thank Mr Wall for the question and his interest, and all our interest, in the matter of dog attacks. I am reflecting back on my statement from last year. I certainly do not recall not mentioning this, because it has been one of the areas on which I have spent considerable time, including in discussions with the opposition.

As has been noted in a statement in the Assembly in the last sitting period, there has been significant work undertaken within TCCS over the course of this year. As I indicated in my statement in the last sitting period, we are actively looking at legislative change around the management of dogs, in particular the management and regulation of dangerous dogs, in the territory. We have also undertaken a fairly extensive community education and awareness campaign, as well as extensive work on an animal welfare and management strategy, all of which are part of addressing this very serious issue.

Obviously, as I indicated last week, the news of a woman’s death in Watson was extremely distressing, and we passed on our condolences to her family. I caution the opposition about making comment on matters specifically involved in that case because, as the opposition is aware and as I have been briefed, matters surrounding last week’s events and the events in August are matters for, and subject to, ACT Policing investigations and their report to the coroner. They have advised me, and I understand that the opposition has been advised, that, given that they are the subject of an ACT Policing inquiry, we should make no further comment on the specifics of that particular matter. But have no doubt about how seriously I and my directorate take these matters.

MR WALL: Minister, when will you stop talking about dangerous dogs and start acting to provide a safe environment for the community to live in?

MS FITZHARRIS: I have indeed been acting all year on those issues outlined before. I have stated in this Assembly on a number of occasions that we are working on legislative change. That legislative change will include a significant amount of change to regulation. As I have indicated very strongly in my discussions with Mr Doszpot, I have been very open to working with him and with the opposition on the proposals that they are also bringing forward, which I know will be introduced into the chamber tomorrow.

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