Today Abigail raised concerns with the Government's classification of animals as "unattended property" within legislation — animals are not property and we must stop categorising them alongside trolleys and vehicles.
Abigail said (11:57):
The Greens share the concerns the Hon. Emma Hurst has put on the record in relation to dealing with animals in the same way as trolleys and vehicles. In relation to trolleys, this is a good scheme. Putting the onus back on the corporations to which the trolleys belong and providing adequate incentives for them to more cheaply retain their trolleys, rather than having them disposed of by councils, is a very good step forward. It vibes well with the concept of corporations being responsible for their belongings from the beginning to the end of their life cycles.
In relation to vehicles, we have concerns about the fining of individuals. However, having spoken with the Minister's office, we are happy to wait for the regulations before drawing any further conclusions about that. I mention the examples of an owner who cannot afford to move their car that has broken down or a car being parked on the street while the owner saves up for repairs. In those cases, a fine is not going to be a useful measure. We hope that the regulations will include hardship provisions. In relation to animals, The Greens have concerns about dogs in national parks and particularly an authorised officer being allowed to destroy an animal without having to contact the animal's owner. When that is a dog in a national park, that is of particular concern. We have asked the Minister not only to reflect on that but also to perhaps give us an assurance on that aspect. We will keep a close eye on the regulations but we express continuing concern that this Government is putting so much into regulation and not into primary legislation. It is very much like only handing in half of your homework. We hope that more substantial provisions are contained in primary legislation but we will not oppose the bill.
The full debate can be found in Hansard, here.