Page 926 - Week 03 - Thursday, 22 March 2018

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I move:

That the Assembly take note of the paper.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Domestic Animals Legislation Amendment Bill 2018

Ms Fitzharris, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MS FITZHARRIS (Yerrabi—Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Minister for Transport and City Services and Minister for Higher Education, Training and Research) (11.24): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I am pleased to introduce the Domestic Animals Amendment Bill 2018 to the Assembly today. This bill aligns the dangerous dog and racing greyhound amendments that were passed by the Legislative Assembly in November last year and makes a number of other minor amendments. This bill builds on the government’s commitment to contemporary and robust animal management laws that achieve improved public safety outcomes, promote the welfare of dogs in our community and ensure responsible pet ownership. This bill will result in a comprehensive and consistent approach to managing all dogs in the ACT, including greyhounds that are kept in the ACT for racing in another jurisdiction, and will ensure that racing greyhounds are managed with community safety, animal welfare and responsible pet ownership in mind.

Madam Assistant Speaker, as you know, the government introduced a comprehensive suite of amendments to the Domestic Animals Act late last year to strengthen dangerous dog laws and improve public safety and animal welfare outcomes. These amendments came into effect on 14 December 2017. At the same time, the government introduced legislation to end greyhound racing in the ACT. This comes into effect on 30 April this year.

This bill makes minor changes to align the dangerous dog and racing greyhound amendments. For example, the bill will ensure that the principles of responsible pet ownership and public safety that were introduced through the dangerous dog amendments equally apply to the new racing greyhound provisions that are set to take effect on 30 April. This will make the act robust and consistent in ensuring that people and dogs are protected in our community.

The ACT has some of the strongest legislation in Australia in relation to the management of dogs, including dangerous and potentially dangerous dogs. The government takes the regulation of dogs and animal welfare offences very seriously, with heavy penalties available for people who do not follow the rules.

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