Govt may axe dog ban

Deanna Bradford enjoys a take-away coffee in the park at Cotton Tree with her dog, Atticus.
Deanna Bradford enjoys a take-away coffee in the park at Cotton Tree with her dog, Atticus. Brett Wortman

THE Federal Government is considering changing the law which bans dogs from outdoor dining areas.

If this happens, a decision by Sunshine Coast Council to introduce a new local law banning dogs from outdoor dining areas could be a moot point.

A Department of Health and Ageing spokeswoman said yesterday that if the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code is amended it would "apply to all states and territories which would be required to implement the new requirements".

The spokeswoman said the Food Regulation Standing Committee agreed on October 14 meeting to review the code which bans dogs in outdoor dining areas.

The Sunshine Coast Council has been aware of this review.

Papers on its websites say that Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), which is responsible for developing the code, received a petition that Queensland Health received in "late 2010 requesting amendments to the code".

It refers to a risk assessment conducted by FSANZ on the food safety risks of dogs in alfresco dining areas which said that health risks are negligible.

"The assessment concludes the risk of food borne transmission of zoonotic agents to humans from pet dogs in alfresco dining settings is very low to negligible," the council report says.

"However, the assessment is very narrow in its focus in that it only addresses one element of the potential impacts involved."

Bloggers flooded the Sunshine Coast Daily website yesterday to give their view about the Performance and Strategy Committee's decision to endorse a raft of new local laws, including banning dogs from outdoor dining areas.

Opinion was largely divided.

Deputy Mayor Tim Dwyer said the council was enforcing the state law in introducing the new local law.

Mayor Bob Abbot said the council was aware of the federal review but it needed to introduce its new local laws before December.

"I don't understand the need for local government introducing it. It is doubling up," Cr Abbot said.

Topics:  dog ban dogs federal government law outdoor dining

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