New dog laws tabled in the Assembly today will incentivise responsible dog ownership and discourage dangerous dog ownership, Shadow Minister for Urban Services Nicole Lawder said.
Ms Lawder’s new laws reward responsible dog owners by waiving the dog registration fee if owners and their dogs successfully complete approved dog training. The proposed laws discourage dangerous dog ownership by doubling the license fee for a dangerous dog from $750 per year to $1,500 per year.
Ms Lawder is also proposing to remove financial barriers for people who no longer want to own a dangerous dog. Currently, Canberrans have to pay $60.70 to get their dangerous dog off our streets.
“I am very pleased to present new laws today to help keep Canberrans and their pets safe from dangerous dog attacks,” Ms Lawder said.
“We have been listening and consulting with Canberrans across the city who are concerned at the government’s failure to manage dangerous dogs.
“The government’s inaction has led to a surge of dog attacks across the Canberra, resulting in grievous injury to both people and pets.
“City Services Minister Chris Steel has acknowledged the breadth of the problem by admitting the government does not have the capacity to deal with the growing number of dangerous dogs in Canberra. He thinks taxing all dog owners might be the answer.
“Most Canberrans are responsible dog owners who love their pets. We should reward these responsible dog owners, not punish them as Mr Steel would do.
“What I have proposed today are sensible measures designed to keep our furry friends safe, to keep our children safe, and to keep Canberrans safe from dog attacks,” Ms Lawder concluded.
Despite increasing rates, taxes, fees and charges, the government is failing to deliver basic local services, Shadow Minister for Urban Services Nicole Lawder said.Despite increasing rates, taxes, fees and charges, the government is failing to deliver basic local services, Shadow Minister for Urban Services Nicole Lawder said.
Today in annual reports, Ms Lawder will question the government’s poor record to deliver reliable local services to the Canberra community.
“Canberrans are paying record amounts for local services, but the government isn’t delivering adequately,” Ms Lawder said.
“The gradual degradation of local government services is creating pressure points across Canberra in regards to health and safety.
“Bins aren’t collected on time, broken street lights take months to fix, potholed roads are largely ignored, and road duplications always seem to be months behind schedule.
“Of course, there is also the ongoing issue of dog attacks which the government refuses to acknowledge.
“The government must explain why Canberrans aren’t getting what they’re paying for,” Ms Lawder said.
New data that shows the number of reported dog attacks in Canberra has increased by 422 per cent demonstrates why we need better laws to manage dangerous dogs, Shadow Minister for Urban Services Nicole Lawder said.
In 2017-18, 485 dog attacks were reported to Domestic Animal Services, according to government figures released this week. Five years ago, there were only 93 reported dog attack incidents in 2013-14.
In the calendar year to September 2, 154 dogs were seized after a dog attack. Of these, 78 were declared dangerous, or released on control orders or euthanised.
"This staggering increase in the number of dog attacks should cause concern for the government," Ms Lawder said.
"It explains why an increasing number of Canberrans are raising concerns about dog attacks.
"Canberrans and their pets continue to suffer as a consequence of the continued lack of effective dog management by the Labor-Greens government.
"Year after year the number of dog attacks increases, demonstrating why we need to deal seriously with the issue of poor dog management.
"We want Canberrans to feel safe when they walk their dogs around their suburb or at the park. They shouldn’t have to be fearful of being attacked.
"We need better laws to ensure dog attacks do not go unaccounted.
"I was pleased to present the first tranche of the Canberra Liberals proposed animal welfare laws to the Assembly this week.
"With our laws, dog rangers would be better placed to respond appropriately to each of these 485 dog attacks.
"I urge the government to review the Canberra Liberals’ proposed animal welfare closely," Ms Lawder concluded.
Interested Canberrans and stakeholders can provide feedback on Ms Lawder’s proposed laws at www.haveyoursay.net.au/dog-attacks/ or on the ACT Legislative Register.
Recycling the graves of departed loved ones would be quite troubling for many Canberrans.
A dignified and respectful approach should be taken when honouring our departed loved ones. This concern should be paramount.
How we treat and honour our dead is one of the oldest cultural traditions that make us human. Burial customs have been honoured for millennia.
Canberrans do need to sensibly address the issue of properly planning spaces for cemeteries and crematoria.
While land within existing city limits might be in short supply, surely there are other options within the ACT and region.
What we need is to a range of options which will satisfy the varied needs of our multicultural society in honouring deceased relatives. Different communities have different needs and these all need to be respected.
Some people will still want to have graves in perpetuity which is what graves are currently understood to be. Other people may be happy with renewable tenure but to date this has not been without its issues elsewhere in Australia where it has been introduced.
Recommendations by an independent panel of experts on how to manage dog attacks reflect proposed new animal welfare laws that I will present to the Assembly tomorrow, Shadow Minister for Urban Services Nicole Lawder said.
The Independent Review into Management of Dogs in the ACT acknowledges community concern about dog attacks and that the number of dog attacks and hospital presentations are increasing.
The panel acknowledged the important role that pet owners play in the management of dogs.
The report said victims should be informed about the outcomes of an investigation, that data be collected and stored more effectively and that dog rangers be given the power to seize dogs that pose a risk to the public safety.
“While I find it odd that the government would suppress this report for almost half year without reason, I welcome this review and hope the government will take it into consideration when it scrutinises my proposed laws,” Ms Lawder said.
“The laws that I will present tomorrow will create clear accountability measures which address recommendations raised in the review.
“Many victims of dog attacks have complained they aren’t informed about the status of an investigation into a dog attack. The Opposition has previously raised this issue with the government on behalf of constituents, but the government didn’t seem to think it mattered.
“Under my proposed laws, Domestic Animal Services will be required to inform the victim, dog owner and responsible Minister of the outcome of the investigation within 14 days of its completion. The registrar will also be required to collect data and document an investigation.
“Our laws also address the conditions under which a dog is seized; tightening them to require that a dog that seriously injures or kills a domestic animal must be impounded during the course of an investigation.
“The report urged that dogs should not be seized for minor incidents. Our laws make provisions for this by distinguishing between domestic and non-domestic animals. This means that a dog that innocently kills or injures a non-domestic animal will not be captured by the legislation,” Ms Lawder concluded.
Submissions on my proposed legislation open on Wednesday September 19 and close on October 12 via the ACT Legislation Register. Interested Canberrans and stakeholders can also provide feedback at www.haveyoursay.net.au/dog-attacks/