Page 5165 - Week 14 - Tuesday, 28 November 2017

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greyhound controller licences. All greyhounds remain subject to the existing general dog registration requirements in the Domestic Animals Act 2000, which at this stage involves lifetime registration. Owners of pet, rescue or retired greyhounds will not be liable for any additional registration requirements or costs.

Concern for the care and welfare of animals is a reflection of the values of a community, and the ACT community demonstrably has animal welfare at its heart. This is evident in the good work of those dedicated and skilled community members who volunteer to foster and re-home retired greyhounds and who will be welcoming greyhounds that are retired as a result of this transition process. In addition, the staff of Domestic Animal Services are, as always, prepared to assist with re-homing greyhounds and indeed all dogs in need of this service.

I have recognised before the impact that these measures will have on those who have had greyhound racing as an important part of their economic and social lives, sometimes for generations. The government made the decision to end greyhound racing in the ACT because it came to the view that it was necessary to do so to protect the welfare of greyhounds. It does not signal disrespect for those individuals involved in our local industry who share the same commitment to animal welfare that I have spoken of today.

We understand the impact that the closure of the industry here will have on directly affected individuals, and we continue to offer support, to work with them through this transition. As the Attorney-General has outlined today and previously, the government has organised counselling and personal support to assist individuals to progress through this period of change by making use of available options for transition support.

The government has also commenced development of a new mandatory code of practice, made under the Animal Welfare Act 1992, relating to the keeping of racing greyhounds. The code will be developed in consultation with industry and animal welfare experts. The government is confident that the new legislation contains sufficient measures to ensure the protection and welfare of animals in the ACT.

The welfare of greyhounds is at the centre of these important reforms, which are in keeping with the ACT’s historically proactive stance on animal welfare. It has been 25 years since the territory banned circuses containing exotic animals from performing here. We were the first—and only, at that stage—jurisdiction in Australia to do so. We are now set to be the first to follow through on a commitment to end greyhound racing, in response to the threat this industry has been shown to pose to animal welfare. Although it may take time, the evidence of continuing problems in other jurisdictions also makes it unlikely that we will be the last to discontinue racing.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

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