To amend the Act by removing the government’s role in issuing handler identity cards and authorise approved training institutions/trainers to issue handler’s identity cards.
The Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dogs Act 2009 (the Act) provides for handlers (the person who relies on the dog) to carry an identity card. This allows members of the public and people in charge of public places, vehicles and places of accommodation to recognise the dog as a guide, hearing or assistance dog.
This is particularly important given the Act makes it an offence for a person in control of a public place, place of accommodation or a public passenger vehicle to refuse service to a person because they are accompanied by a certified guide, hearing or assistance dog, or a trainee support dog. The Act requires users to identify themselves by visibly displaying their identity card or producing it on request. In meeting this requirement, a user is ensured that their access rights are protected and that any offence provisions under the Act may be enforced by the department.
Currently, there is a dual system in operation. At one level, the Act authorises the Queensland Government to issue handler identity cards. However, guide, hearing and assistance dog users are sometimes issued two identity cards as some approved training institutions also provide identification cards to handlers when a dog is certified.
There are a number of issues with the current processes:
Government currently does not prescribe a fee for the issuing or renewal of handler identity cards
Removing the Queensland Government’s role in issuing handler identity cards and authorising approved training institutions/trainers to issue handler identity cards will improve and simplify processes. Advice from approved training organisations is that many already issue handler identity cards and as such, this proposal is effectively a continuation of their existing business. Most importantly, these changes will bring about a reduction in the duplication of administrative processes.
However, it is proposed that government will maintain an oversight role to ensure that rights of access are maintained and the department is still able to follow through on any offences committed under the Act. In particular, changes will be made to:
In implementing the recommendation, options will be explored to ensure that minimal operational or financial impacts are experienced by consumers and other parties.