The welfare and wellbeing of animals has not been a priority of any of the five NSW Parliaments I have served since 1988. Notwithstanding, I have been a strong and often lone advocate for animals in the NSW Legislative Assembly.
As an inner Sydney representative I promote responsible pet ownership in return for less restrictions on exercise and access, opportunities on public transport, and accommodation. Pets play a very important role in a great many peoples’ lives, providing love, companionship and security and an impetus for exercise.
While Australia has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world, governments and councils have the attitude that pets are not a legitimate part of life. During debate on the 1998 Companion Animals Act I sought to balance pet ownership education and responsibilities with increased opportunities for exercise and access. However restrictions on pets have increased and the aims of the Act to educate owners and the broader community about pet behaviours and benefits have been ignored and undermined.
As Lord Mayor of the City, I am initiating at a local government level, increased unleashed areas for dogs, while offering free dog training to constituent owners.