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Dog Control Act passes through Parliament

Mark Shelton, Minister for Local Government

The Hodgman majority Liberal Government is taking action to protect our sensitive wildlife from the threat of dog attacks, with the passing of our Dog Control Amendment Bill 2019 through the Legislative Council yesterday.

This crucial step towards protecting little penguin rookeries enables the Tasmanian Government to ensure that new penalty provisions are in place ahead of the peak summer breeding season.

The amendments that have now passed through Parliament specifically target irresponsible dog owners and provide for stronger penalties that send a clear message: if your dog injures or kills sensitive wildlife like little penguins, then there will be serious consequences.

Changes include a new offence for instances where a dog injures or kills any sensitive wildlife in any area specified by the Minister responsible for the Nature Conservation Act 2002.

A person found guilty of the new offence could be fined up to $5,040, liable for a range of costs incurred, and may have their dog destroyed.

Other offence provisions with additional monetary penalties in the Act may also apply, depending on the individual circumstances of the attack.

The penalty for taking a dog into a prohibited area containing sensitive habitat for native wildlife will also increase to $3,360. This approach will support local councils wishing to prohibit the entry of dogs into ecologically significant areas, such as little penguin colonies.

In addition to protections for sensitive wildlife, the Bill also includes important amendments relating to greyhounds, enabling councils to lawfully provide off-leash exercise areas for greyhounds where appropriate and to extend the circumstances in which greyhounds are considered under effective control.

Once again, the Hodgman majority Liberal Government has listened to community feedback and we have responded quickly and effectively.