Consultation period

26 March 2021 - 9:00 am To 23 April 2021 - 11:59 pm

Assistance Animals – A Nationally Consistent Approach

Open

Closes in 3 days

Assistance animal

Overview

To improve certainty for people with disability using assistance animals, the Commonwealth, state and territory governments are working together to develop options for a nationally consistent approach to the regulation and accreditation of assistance animals.

The Commonwealth Department of Social Services wants to hear the views of organisations and individuals involved with assistance animals. This includes:

  • assistance animal training organisations
  • assistance animal trainers
  • disability peak bodies
  • service providers
  • people living with disability
  • carers, family members or friends of a person with disability
  • advocates for people with disability
  • people who work for a disability organisation
  • any other interested parties.

We encourage you to share your views, ideas and experiences about assistance animals using a short online survey. The information and insights you provide will be used to inform options for the development of a nationally consistent approach to the regulation and accreditation of assistance animals.

Commonwealth legislation

Under the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) it is unlawful to discriminate against a person with disability who is using an assistance animal.

Section 9(2) of the DDA sets out the legal definition of an assistance animal, being a dog or other animal that:

  1. is accredited under State or Territory law to assist a person with disability to alleviate the effects of disability; or
  2. is accredited by an animal training organisation prescribed in the regulations; or
  3. is trained to assist a person with disability to alleviate the effect of the disability and meet standards of hygiene and behaviour that are appropriate for an animal in a public place.

State and territory legislation and accreditation

State and territory governments are responsible for the regulation and accreditation of assistance animals in each jurisdiction, including the standards of hygiene and behaviour that are appropriate for an assistance animal in a public place.

Differences in state and territory laws and policies regarding assistance animals   have resulted in a range of issues for people with disability who use assistance animals in areas such as travel, accommodation and access to premises.

About the survey

In this survey, we will first ask you some general questions about you and/or your organisation. Answering these questions is optional.

We will then ask you questions specifically related to assistance animals. Depending on whether you are a person using assistance animal, a carer, a service provider, a trainer or another interested party, some survey questions may be more important to you than others. For this reason, the survey will allow you to answer some questions and not the others. There is also a free text space for any additional comment you may want to provide.

We encourage your feedback through the online survey. If you are experiencing issues with completing the survey and you require support, please email sector.engagement@dss.gov.au.

Please note, in this survey we are interested in the issues arising from differences in assistance animal regulation and legislation between states and territories. Therefore, questions relate to experiences when visiting states or territories outside of where the assistance animal is registered.