Legislation opens more doors for local assistance dogs

DSC_8080-685x1024Local people with disability will benefit from improved access and streamlined services after the passing through State Parliament of the Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dogs Amendment Bill yesterday.


State Member for Morayfield, Mark Ryan MP, said the Amendment Bill had improved the Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dogs Act 2009 by closing gaps identified during a recent review of the legislation.


“Guide, hearing and assistance dogs play an important role in our community. They are special working dogs trained to allow people with disability to be more independent and involved in the community,” Mr Ryan said.


“They perform a range of important tasks to help people with disability in their daily lives, including picking up parcels, turning on lights and paying cashiers.


“The Queensland Government is committed to improving the lives of people with disability and I expect the changes to this legislation will go a long way towards achieving that in our community.”


Changes under the Amendment Bill include expanding the access rights to alternative handlers who may be required to assist a primary handler to control a certified dog (such as a child with disability) and authorising trainers and training institutions to issue identity cards.


The Bill has removed the need for handlers to prove a disability when renewing identity cards and restrictions have been lifted on the certification of dogs belonging to shareholders, directors and employees of training institutions.


The Bill will also equip authorised departmental officers with greater powers to investigate any complaints made and enforce compliance with the Act.


Changes are expected to come into effect in 2016.

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