Recommendation 2 - Disability Services, Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services (Queensland Government)

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Recommendation 2

Certification of dogs and public access test

Recommendation 2

To maintain the current legislative arrangements with no amendments for the certification process for guide, hearing or assistance dogs, with practice improvements to be implemented for the Public Access Test.

Current practice/legislative framework

The Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dogs Act 2009 requires all dogs to pass a Public Access Test before they can be certified to access public places, public passenger vehicles and places of accommodation. The test sets out the minimum standards for approved trainers or training institutions for training guide, hearing or assistance dogs to ensure they can safely and effectively access places, and the handler can control the dog.

The test has three main areas and elements are assessed as pass or fail:

  • social behaviour (non-aggressive, well managed, people response, animal distraction, noise distraction)
  • obedience and respect (walk to heel)
  • physical health and appearance (toileting/hygiene).

In addition to these mandatory requirements, some approved training institutions also ensure regular reviews and retesting of dogs. Many approved training institutions also comply with recognised national or international guides. No other state or territory legislates minimum training standards for dogs, and benchmarking is generally a matter of self-regulation.

Reasons for recommendation

Similar to recommendation 1, this approach allows government to have a regulatory role in setting standards for approved trainers and training institutions without creating additional and unnecessary regulatory burden.

However, given the Public Access Test is integral to the certification process, it is proposed to work with key stakeholders to improve the workability of the current test to strengthen its effectiveness and usability to:

  • better address access to public transport and infrastructure (e.g. a ferry, a train station with excess noise and large number of people)
  • include simple explanatory notes in each section.

Access a copy of the current Public Access Test.

Is your feedback

Please submit your comments on the department's Compliments and Complaints section.

Please submit your comments on the Queensland Government website Contacts form.