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12 March 1991 - Current

Health and Child Wellbeing Legislation Amendment Bill 2017
Page 4231
30 November 2017

Ms SHEED (Shepparton) (16:49:33) (By leave) — The Domestic Animals Amendment (Puppy Farms and Pet Shops) Bill 2016 was tabled in this house in September 2016. When it reached the upper house it went into committee, and there were subsequently a number of recommendations made. On Monday of this week most of us received 32 pages of amendments to this bill, and here it is on the business program for this week. While, generally speaking, I supported the government business program in terms of the bills that were to be discussed, I say there should be an opportunity for us to be able to go into detailed consideration on this bill. This bill caused a lot of angst out in the wider community, and certainly in regional communities, because it is not just about puppy farms; it is about a whole range of things to do with the management of domestic animals. I myself have spoken with people who breed birds and people who breed dogs in small numbers, and they have expressed a lot of concern about it.

The amendments that are here and the bill indeed itself certainly introduce what we might call a lot of red tape, it seems to me. It would be my desire to have much more time to deal with this bill and to be able to go back to some of the groups I met with earlier to help them understand what the amendments are and get an understanding from those constituents as to what they are thinking about this. But in any event, to go into detailed consideration gives us the opportunity to ask some of those questions on behalf of our constituents.

I understand that the bill that is currently under consideration is a very important bill and that many people have spoken about it. It deals with important issues in our community, but similarly the time frames we are given in this place to deal with things do at times require the fact that not everybody gets to speak on everything. This is an important, large piece of legislation that would dramatically change the landscape for the management of domestic animals in this state, and to not have the opportunity to be able to have some detailed discussion and ask the minister questions about it is, I think, very disappointing.

I do not think it is appropriate that we should have to just tick off a bill one way or the other here and hope that the other place will deal with it. That is not what this house is really about. Unfortunately there are times when you might genuinely support a bill and vote in favour of it hoping that it will be improved in the upper house. That is a really unsatisfactory set of circumstances. We ought to have the opportunity in this house for more debate and to go into the bills before they are put to a vote. I really cannot emphasise that enough. So many bills are put through the guillotine before sufficient opportunity to debate them not only in the way, for instance, the member for Frankston has talked about but in a detailed way.

I think that many of these amendments are consequential, but many of them are also quite significant. For instance, there are changes to definitions to what a farm working dog is. That may seem trivial to some, but it is probably quite important to people out there on farms and to those people who also breed very specialised breeds of dogs for working on farms. I support the member for Murray Plains's motion on this and hope we can go straight into detailed consideration of this bill.