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LOCAL LAW COMMUNITY IMPACT STATEMENT July 2016

LOCAL LAW COMMUNITY IMPACT STATEMENT

July 2016

LOCAL LAW COMMUNITY IMPACT STATEMENT July 2016

Keeping of Animals Local Law No. 2

City of Greater Bendigo (CoGB) provides the following information to the community in respect of the Keeping of Animals Local Law review.

PART A GENERAL COMMENTS

Background

It is Council’s view that Local Laws are critical to ensuring the good order,

peace and good governance of a municipal district.

Under the Local Government Act 1989, a Local Law expires after 10 years whether or not it has been amended in the meantime.

The City of Greater Bendigo last reviewed its animal keeping Local Law in 2009. As a result of that review the existing Local Law was revoked and the new animal keeping local law came into effect, 1 st January 2010.

Section 68A of the Domestic Animals Act requires CoGB at 4 year intervals to develop a Domestic Animal Management Plan (DAMP) that addresses the

following:-

Provide for the review of existing orders made under this Act and Local Laws that relate to the Council’s municipal district with a view to determining whether further orders or Local Laws dealing with the management of dogs and cats in municipal district are desirable.

CoGB is developing a new DAMP, therefore considered it timely to review the Local Laws and orders made under the Domestic Animals Act concurrently.

In 2010, the State Government, through Local Government Victoria, released Guidelines for Local Laws Manual’, which set out new best practice

guidelines for the creation of new Local Laws. One of the key elements of these best practice guidelines includes mandating that Councils produce a

Local Law Community Impact Statement.

The impact statement must include clear objectives, measures of success and assessment of relevant powers, risk analysis, cost benefit and competition and human rights analysis.

Why do we need an Animal Keeping Local Law?

To provide a mechanism to manage animal keeping within the City of

Greater Bendigo To assist in maintaining residential and public amenity

To control activities associated with the keeping of animals, birds and poultry to prevent unnecessary nuisance, damage to flora or fauna or the environment

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To adopt, apply and ensure compliance with the relevant codes of practices for keeping of animals.

We achieve this by:

Regulating and controlling the number of animals and poultry allowed to

be kept Regulating how animals and poultry are able to be kept to provide for the

welfare of those animals and poultry Applying controls to prevent animals causing a nuisance, damaging flora

or fauna or polluting the environment Applying controls to contain animals

Applying controls to manage animal litter

Providing an opportunity to keep more than the allowed number of animals by way of a permit system.

The proposed changes to the current Local Law include:

Providing an industry best practice to the keeping of animals;

Reinforcing expected standards by introducing a clause into the Local

Law to provide for animals to be kept in accordance with the relevant industry code of practice or standards; Improve community understanding by changing the land zoning descriptions within the Local Law definitions to be consistent with the Greater Bendigo Planning Scheme;

Changing the penalty for any breaches of the Local Law that refer to

‘conviction by any Court’ to ‘a finding of guilt by any Court’.

Amending the appeal of decision to refuse application provision of the administration Local Law to enable appeals to be heard more quickly by expanding the range of suitably qualified people who can participate on a review panel; Changing the notification of the panel’s decision from 10 days to 28 days to allow for both parties to an appeal to have sufficient time to respond to the process, and all information to be gathered and considered when an appeal is made.

Conclusions

The review has concluded that the Local Law is still the most appropriate approach to dealing with domestic animal keeping.

The list of Council’s Officers authorised under Section 224 of the Local

Government Act has also been reviewed. All authorisations are current and all formalities of authorisation are being complied with.

CoGB has delegated certain applicable provisions of the Local Law to the Manager Parking and Animal Services. These provisions are still appropriate.

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The Local Law review has allowed CoGB to respond to community amenity issues and implement best practice Local Law making.

The Local Law review has been necessary to ensure that the Animal Keeping Local Law is meeting CoGB and the community’s needs and expectations.

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PART B COMMENTS ON PROPOSED LOCAL LAW OVERALL

The table below specifies Council’s response to the assessment provisions:

Issue

 

Evaluation

Measures of

The success of the Local Law will be measured by:

success of

The annual surveyed level of community

proposed Local Law.

satisfaction rating for animal related issues The number of complaints from people affected by

the Local Law received annually The cost of administering the Local Law

The extent to which it provides for and facilitates the

smooth administration and management of animal services The annual number of requests for review of decisions made under the Local Law.

Existing legislation that might be used instead.

CoGB is not aware of any existing legislation that may be used instead.

State

CoGB is not aware of any State legislation with respect to

The Local Law compliments the land use provisions of the

legislation.

limiting the number of animals or poultry allowed to be

kept or residential fencing requirement for housing of animals.

planning scheme.

The Local Law will supplement existing State legislation administered and enforced by Council.

Overlap of

CoGB uses the Domestic Animals Act to administer cat

existing

controls and provisions relating to off leash controls as the

legislation.

preferred legislation.

CoGB believes the provisions of the proposed Local Law supplements the State legislation without duplicating, overlapping or creating any inconsistency.

Overlap of

CoGB does not believe any provision of the proposed

planning

Local Law overlaps, duplicates or creates an inconsistency

scheme.

with Council’s planning scheme.

Consultation has occurred with the Manager of Statutory Planning. One area of concern was noted and changes made to the draft Local Law.

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Risk

CoGB has adopted a risk management approach to the

In reaching this view, CoGB considered the absence of the

assessment.

review of the Local Law and does not believe that there

are any significant risks associated with the proposed Local Law to CoGB or the community.

proposed Local Law and the lack of controls CoGB would have over the keeping of domestic animals and the impact that would have on residential amenity and the environment as a consequence.

Legislative

CoGB believes in a minimum imposition on the community

approach

with its Local Laws. CoGB reflects this approach by

adopted.

providing for:

Reasonable penalties

Reasonable enforcement procedures, including

provision for issuing of cautions where appropriate and provision of an internal review process for infringement notices and refusal of permits Implementation of a Complaints Handling

Procedure Implementation of a Compliance and Enforcement Policy which provides a rationale and framework for an equitable, transparent and consistent approach to compliance activities.

Restriction of

CoGB is of the view that the introduction of this proposed

competition.

Local Law poses no restriction on competition and that the proposed Local Law is in accordance with the National Competition Principles.

Penalties.

There are no amendments proposed to the penalties established under the 2010 Local Law.

Permits.

Permits will continue to be required for the activity of keeping more that the allowed number of animals. This is a common permit conditions at most Councils.

CoGB considers permits as a means of controlling activities, rather than using prohibition. CoGB has found that the use of permits is a very effective means of managing activities fairly and reasonably.

It is proposed to amend the appeal of decisions provision of the administration Local Law 10 clause 13(C) to enable the appealing of decisions to be less prescriptive in relation to people who can participate on a review panel.

Fees.

The purpose of fees charged under this proposed Local Law will generally be to recover some of the costs involved in administering the Local Law, not to make a profit.

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The proposed Local Law allows CoGB to set fees annually and this will be done as a part of the budget process. CoGB will continue to bench mark their fees against neighboring Councils.

Performance

The proposed Local Law is predominantly framed in

standard or

prescriptive terms, due to most of the provisions setting

prescriptive.

out measures to deal with compliance.

This is necessary to regulate and control activities associated with the keeping of animals so as to provide for the welfare of the animals and to protect public amenity.

Comparison

A comparison of the proposed Animal Keeping Local Law

with

has been made with the relevant Local Laws of the

neighboring

following Councils:

and like

Councils.

City of Ballarat

Shire of Campaspe

Mitchell Shire Council

City of Greater Shepparton

Shire of Mount Alexander

The assessment has found that the CoGB Local Law is consistent with the intent of the other Council’s Local Laws mentioned above and the objectives, structure and language is similar.

Every CoGB in Victoria has an Animal Keeping Local Law. The proposed Local Law is not substantially different from the Animal Keeping Local Laws of other Victorian councils.

Charter of Human Rights.

CoGB has assessed the proposed Local Law for compatibility with the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 and also the City of Greater Bendigo Human Rights Charter.

No breaches of the charter have been identified.

Consultation

The Local Law review is a community wide project

Internal

Meetings.

requiring internal and external consultation. The review

has been undertaken in accordance with Council’s Community Engagement Policy.

There has been extensive internal consultation with relevant managers and staff members throughout the organization. The draft Local Law has been circulated to the relevant managers and staff for comment.

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External

Initial consultation occurred with relevant stakeholders as part of the Local Law and Domestic Animal Management Plan review. This consultation has included:

February July 2015:

Community survey / questionnaire.

Media releases and paid advertisements in the local media to advise the community of the review of the Local Law.

Information in the Greater Bendigo News and on social media.

Information made available at the Customer Service Centres and on the City of Greater Bendigo Web.

Information at District Engagement and Ward Meetings. Listening posts at several locations.

Mail out to relevant community contacts and interest groups.

A final official community consultation process was conducted in accordance with sections 119(2) and 223 of the Local Government Act 1989 once CoGB gave public notice of its intention to make the proposed Local Law and provided members of the public with a final opportunity to make a written submission or be heard.

CoGB then considered submissions received before making a final decision on the proposed Local Law.

Submissions.

In response to the public notice of the proposed Local Law, CoGB received two written submissions, as well as a recommendation from the solicitor CoGB engages for advice and legal representation for animal related matters. No person asked to be heard.

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CITY OF GREATER BENDIGO LOCAL LAW COMMUNITY IMPACT STATEMENT - JULY 2016

Keeping of Animals Local Law No. 2

PART C COMMENTS ON SPECIFIC PARTS OR PROVISIONS OF THE PROPOSED LOCAL LAW

Clause(s) Section or part of Local Law.

Local Law 2 Clause 9.

Description or

Keeping of Animals.

heading(s). The problem the provision is intended to address.

To provide an industry best practiceto the keeping of animals.

Description of the problem.

The existing Local Law, with the exception of poultry, does not provide welfare standards on how most animals should be kept. Industry codes set out minimum standards for keeping of different types of animals. By incorporating the codes into the Local Law allows for the contents of the codes, which are only produced as a guide to be enforceable if required.

CoGB Objective.

By incorporating the relevant codes into the Local Law allows CoGB to ensure that the minimum welfare standards are applied with the keeping of animals.

Where is Council’s

CoGB Plan 2013-2017 (2015 -2016 Update) Theme 3

objective set out?

Presentation and Vibrancy, Strategic Objective 3.5 - People are supported to learn about and make decisions that enable them to be safe and the healthiest they can be. CoGB Plan 2013-2017 (2015 - 2016 Update) Action 3.5.4 Implement the Domestic Animal Management Plan.

How does proposed Local Law provision help achieve objectives?

By adopting this provision CoGB can ensure that people keeping animals will do so in accordance with the recognised industry standards or best practice.

Clause(s) Section or part of Local Law.

Local Law 2 Clause 10 and Local Law 2 Clause 8.

Description or

Limit on Number of Animals and Definitions.

heading(s). The problem the provision is intended to address.

Changing the land zoning descriptions within the Local Law definitions and clause 10 schedules will enable the Local Law to be consistent with the Greater Bendigo Planning Scheme, and more easily understood by the community. The actual limits on numbers of animals allowed to be kept will not change.

Description of the

Inconsistency with definitions within the Planning

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problem.

Scheme.

CoGB Objective.

To ensure that the provisions of the proposed Local Law do not overlap, duplicate or create an inconsistency with Council’s planning scheme or confuse residents.

Where is Council’s

CoGB Plan 2013-2017 (2015 -2016 Update) Theme 3

healthiest they can be. CoGB Plan 2013-2017 (2015 -

objective set out?

Presentation and Vibrancy, Strategic Objective 3.5 -

People are supported to learn about and make decisions that enable them to be safe and the

  • 2016 Update) Action 3.5.4 Implement the Domestic

Animal Management Plan.

How does proposed Local Law provision help achieve objectives?

This proposed change will eliminate any inconsistencies with the planning scheme.

Clause(s) Section or part of Local Law.

Local Law 2 Clause 9.

Description or

Penalty.

heading(s). The problem the provision is intended to address.

Changing the penalty for any breaches of the Local Law that refer to ‘conviction by any Court’ to ‘a finding of guilt by any Court’.

Description of the problem.

Magistrates are sometimes reluctant to record a conviction against perpetrators as part of their punishment. If no conviction is recorded CoGBis unable to issue monetary penalties to the offender if the breach of the Local Law continues following a successful prosecution.

CoGB Objective.

By incorporating the changes into the Local Law allows CoGB to ensure that penalties can be issued against animal owners that continue to be in breach of the Local Law, subsequent to a successful prosecution.

Where is Council’s

CoGB Plan 2013-2017 (2015 -2016 Update) Theme 3

decisions that enable them to be safe and the

objective set out?

Presentation and Vibrancy, Strategic Objective 3.5 -

People are supported to learn about and make

healthiest they can be. CoGB Plan 2013-2017 (2015 -

  • 2016 Update) Action 3.5.4 Implement the Domestic

Animal Management Plan.

How does proposed Local Law provision help achieve objectives?

By adopting this provision CoGB can take action against people who continue to be in breach of the Local Law after a finding of guilt in Court.

 

Clause(s) Section

Local Law 10 Clause 13c and 13e.

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or part of Local Law.

 

Description or

Administration of This Local Law appeal of decision to refuse application.

heading(s). The problem the provision is intended to address.

It is proposed to amend the appeal of decisions provision of the administration Local Law to enable the appealing of decisions to be less prescriptive in relation to people who can participate on a Review Panel.

It is also proposed to change the notification of the panel’s decision from 10 days to 28 days to allow for all information to be gathered and considered.

Description of the problem.

The prescriptive nature of the make-up of the Review Panel can prevent appeals to be undertaken in a timely manner when one of the Panel is away from work.

CoGB Objective.

Ensure that the administration and enforcement provisions are applied consistently across all CoGB Local Laws.

Where is Council’s objective set out?

CoGB Plan 2013-2017 (2015 -2016 Update) Theme 3 Presentation and Vibrancy, Strategic Objective 3.5 - People are supported to learn about and make decisions that enable them to be safe and the healthiest they can be. CoGB Plan 2013-2017 (2015 - 2016 Update) Action 3.5.4 Implement the Domestic Animal Management Plan.

How does proposed Local Law provision help achieve objectives?

Amending the appeal of decision to refuse application provision of the administration Local Law will enable appeals to be heard more quickly by expanding the range of suitably qualified people who can participate on a review panel;

Changing the notification of the panel’s decision from

10

days

to

28

days will allow

for both parties to an

appeal to have sufficient time to respond to the process, and all information to be gathered and

considered when an appeal is made.

 

By applying these administrative provisions will ensure a more efficient and transparent process for review of decisions to grant or refuse a permit.

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PART D RISK APPROACH

Risk

Risk

Description of Issue

Measure to

Sub

Identified

rating

Control Risk

risk

H/M/L

rating

H/M/L

Residents not aware of the Local Law.

Med

Residents: keeping more animals than allowed; not providing sufficient fencing; not cleaning up after their animal; allowing their animals to create a nuisance.

Advertising the Local Law through media and web. Education & enforcement. Consultation before and after adoption of the Local Law.

Low

Enforcement of the Local Law.

Med

Unauthorised and / or inconsistent application of the LL.

Ensure all Compliance staff are authorised under s224 of the Local Government Act 1989 and trained in the application of the Local Law Enforcement provisions. Documented enforcement processes are to be followed at all times. Detailed Policy and Decision Matrix has been developed for review of infringement notices. The Administration LL provides a process to appeal a decision to refuse a

Low

The new Local

High

Risk to:

permit. Implement the new

Low

Law not being

Public Health due to lack

Local Law or

implemented.

of vermin control CoGB Reputation

continue to utilise the existing Local

Community Safety & lifestyle due to wandering animals and animal

Law.

hoarding Disruption to Residential Amenity due to noise, odor or smell

Existing Local Law would still provide necessary controls for the next 3 years.

Public Amenity due to

dog waste at public walk areas Animal Welfare due to

overcrowding and insufficient housing Liability due to

wandering livestock and other animals at large Community perception of

safety Community Confidence due to lack of sufficient controls.

Failure to request or hear public submissions.

Med

Breach of the Local Government Act 1989.

CoGB has considered a draft of the Local Law at an Ordinary CoGB

Low

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meeting and

 

resolved to propose to adopt the Local Law in order to allow a formal public submission process to occur;

• Submissions on the

adopted proposed Local Law were called for in public advertisements with a 28 day submission period available for the public to make any comments, suggestions and objections on the proposals; CoGB provided for any person wishing to make a submission the opportunity to attend a meeting with CoGB or representatives of Council; CoGB is now formally considering a report on the submissions and any proposed changes to the proposed Local Law.

Cost burden to residents for obtaining permits.

Low

Residents unable to afford permits.

CoGB considers fees and charges as part of the budget process each year. CoGB has previously adopted a once off life time permit for keeping of animals more that the allowed numbers. The CEO has the delegated authority to waive or reduce fees where

Low

Failure to consult with the community.

Med

Loss of community confidence

appropriate. A comprehensive consultation process has been undertaken

Low

Poor Service

Med

 

CoGB has a

Low

Quality.

Dissatisfied residents. Loss of confidence in CoGB services.

customer service charter which provides direction, guidance and service standards for dealing with customer concerns. All staff are inducted and monitored to ensure consistency with the charter.

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