Michelle Lensink

Animal Welfare (Companion Animals) Amendment Bill 2014

Second reading speech for the Animal Welfare (Companion Animals) Amendment Bill 2014

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK ( 23:19 :05 ): I will be brief in my summing up. I did make quite a number of comments in my second reading on 17 September, and I would like to reacknowledge the very keen interest in this topic and driving of this issue by the Hon. Tammy Franks and the Hon. Bob Such, as has been outlined, and also commend the work of the select committee. I outlined in my second reading the positions of a number of the stakeholders. I have since then, since 17 September, received a letter from the Local Government Association, which says as follows:

Although Councils have a limited role in animal welfare matters, the amendments are generally viewed as a positive step.

However the main issues raised by Councils were enforcement and resourcing issues. Councils are concerned to ensure that any new compliance requirements will not fall to Councils to enforce. In regional areas, in particular, there is concern that the RSPCA is not adequately resourced to carry out its enforcement functions and Councils do not have the resources to fill the void.

I just add that to complete the record. I would also like to thank again parliamentary counsel, who I think did a pretty good job of matching up the recommendations of the select committee to legislation. I do acknowledge that there are probably going to be some amendments required, and that is why I did want to take this to a second reading vote tonight rather than through all stages.

I would like to highlight some of the comments of the Hon. Tammy Franks in her contribution, where she stated, I think, that the RSPCA estimates that maybe some 95 per cent of puppies sold through pet shops have been brought into the world through puppy farms. I say that because some friends of mine recently have sought to purchase a puppy. They were not necessarily interested in a purebred, so they went on Gumtree. The first question that they asked of people was whether these animals had been bred on puppy farms, and they were quite surprised at the number of people who immediately hung up on them, so I think that there are probably a lot of hidden practices in the community that we would want to stamp out.

I would like to thank the Hon. Tammy Franks and the Hon. Kelly Vincent for their indications of support, and the Hon. Kyam Maher for placing the government's position on the record. I would like to take issue with a couple of the things that he raised. He stated specifically that the committee referred to dogs and cats and not other animals. That is true, but if the government would bother to read the legislation in detail they would find that in the definitions section this would apply only to dogs and cats.

It naturally leaves a lot of the detail to the regulations because, quite frankly, that is the government's job to do that sort of work. In opposition and as minor parties in this place we do not have the resources to do all that exhaustive consultation and round tables of meetings to get the fine details of codes of practice and those sorts of things; that is well and truly their job. I am surprised that it is indicated now that it opposes a breeder licensing scheme and a cooling-off period. I look forward to the debate. I would like to think that we can reach some sort of agreement between the parties in this place and look forward to the future debate in 2015.

Bill read a second time.

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