To amend the Act’s provision which prevents an approved training institution being able to certify a guide, hearing or assistance dog of a director or shareholder of the institution; or an employee trainer of the institution.
The Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dogs Act 2009 (the Act) prevents an approved trainer certifying a guide, hearing or assistance dog if the trainer is the person with disability relying on that dog.
In particular, the Act prevents an approved training institution certifying a guide, hearing or assistance dog if the person with disability is:
a) an employee trainer of the institution; or
b) a director or shareholder of the institution.
Concerns have been raised about whether the provision in its current form is necessary and unduly restrictive.
Managing potential or actual conflicts of interest is important to maintain rigour in the approval process, and to maintain quality and accountable training institutions. However, this needs to be balanced with the overall aim of the Act – to promote access rights for people with disability. Imposing unnecessary restrictions may impact on these rights, and may also prevent training institutions joining the scheme.
Therefore, it is proposed to repeal this particular section of the Act and make legislative changes to require approved training institutions to keep records about disclosing and managing conflicts of interests.