The ACT Government has for the first time proposed extending its cat containment strategy into an established suburb of Canberra.
It proposes declaring two new cat containment areas in the territory, at Casey in Gungahlin and in the suburbs surrounding the Jerrabomberra Wetlands Nature reserve including the Kingston Foreshore and The Causeway.
The Causeway was one of the city’s original housing developments in 1925, but current residents of its 67 or so mostly government houses are already facing uncertainty as the planned Eastlake redevelopment would see their suburb subsumed.
Cat containment laws are already in place in Bonner, Crace, Coombs, Denman Prospect, Forde, Lawson, Molonglo, Moncrieff, Throsby and Wright, with Jacka due to join them from 2017.
Minister for Territory and Municipal Services Shane Rattenbury has today invited the community to provide feedback on the new proposals, which once enforced would require cat owners to confine their pets to their premises, or those of a carer, at all times.
There would be a suitable lead time to provide residents with an opportunity to implement cat containment measures on their premises, he said. The community consultation period ends on February 12, 2016.
Mr Rattenbury said Jerrabomberra Wetlands was one of the most valuable wetland habitat areas in the ACT.
“It is of national and international importance serving as a refuge for migrating bird species and supporting a number of frog, reptile and mammal species.
“Casey’s close proximity to the Kinlyside Nature Reserve means that native wildlife is at risk of predation by roaming cats.
The minister and Greens MLA said that under the Domestic Animals Act 2000, a cat containment area can be declared where cats pose a serious threat to native wildlife.
“There are a number of ways cats can be contained whilst remaining happy and healthy, including keeping them indoors or providing a purpose built enclosure that will give shelter as well as access to the outdoors,” Mr Rattenbury said.
“The benefits of cat containment are not only felt by our native wildlife. The risk of fights with other animals and traffic incidents are avoided, keeping cats safe, happy and healthy.”
Mr Rattenbury said the ACT Government is committed to engaging with the community and involving them in the decision making process wherever possible.
“Given that there are already people living in these areas, the commencement date for the cat containment declaration will be delayed to provide residents time to implement cat containment measures on their premises. A similar arrangement has been agreed to for Jacka in which the commencement date isn’t until 1 January 2017.
“Community feedback is now invited on the timeframe for commencing the declaration in both areas and the extent of the cat containment in areas adjacent to Jerrabomberra Wetlands,” Mr Rattenbury said.
There will be three drop-in information sessions to help give residents the chance to learn more about cat containment and provide their feedback on the plans.
Feedback can also be provided through an online survey on the Territory and Municipal Services website at www.tams.act.gov.au, or via a hardcopy survey available from Gungahlin or Kingston libraries.
Cat containment drop-in information sessions
• 6pm to 7pm, Tuesday 8 December 2015, The Causeway Community Hall
• 6pm to 8pm, Wednesday 9 December 2015, Eastlake Football Club in Kingston
• 6pm to 8pm, Tuesday 15 December 2015, Gungahlin Library (Conference Room 1)