State Government back-tracks on compulsory cat confinement

Media Release

29 June 2017

The TCT said today that while there are many positive aspects of the Tasmanian Cat Management Plan, released yesterday, it is highly disappointing that the state government has decided to not legislate for compulsory confinement of pet cats. Instead, the government intends leaving it to each council to implement local by-laws if they want to have powers to confine pet cats.

When the draft Tasmanian Cat Management Plan was released in April 2016 the Minister for Primary Industry Jeremy Rockliff supported a phase-in of legislation to require pet cats to be confined to their property. In response to a relatively low level of criticism from cat owners, the minister has now done a complete turn-around and wants no role for the state government in regulating cat confinement.

"The TCT supported the proposal for compulsory confinement if it could be implement in an appropriate way," said TCT Director, Peter McGlone. 

"Critically, we wanted the government to provide some cat owners with assistance to construct enclosures, to ensure that penalties were fair and that councils were not forced to police containment laws.

"Under our proposal, those councils wanting to regulate cat confinement would have appropriate and consistent powers and penalties available to them without having to go through the one to two year process of creating by-laws. 

"The state government has ignored our recommendations about taking a more cautious approach to implementing state laws and has instead given up taking any responsibility for it. 

"This is extremely disappointing given that, in response to a survey run by the TCT at the end of last year, 92.1% of non-cat owners and 46.2% of cat owners in Tasmania supported compulsory confinement of pet cats.

"We believe that the government could increase the support of cat owners if it committed resources, ensured that penalties were fair and phased the laws in over several years."

The TCT strongly supports other proposed changes to the Cat Management Act, including:
- the introduction of a penalty for not de-sexing or micro-chipping a pet cat;
- placing a limit on the number of cats that can be allowed at a property;
- providing a wider range of agricultural producers with rights to trap and humanely destroy cats on their properties.

Further comment:
Peter McGlone
0406 380 545