MEDIA STATEMENT: 24 AUGUST 2021
New laws spearheaded by Animal Justice Party MP Emma Hurst will come into effect tomorrow, stopping strata schemes from passing by-laws that unreasonably prevent owners and occupiers from having companion animals.
From 25 August, strata schemes will not be able to impose blanket bans on animals in apartment complexes, and an application to keep an animal can only be refused if it ‘unreasonably interferes with another occupant’s use and enjoyment’ of their property.
Please see quotes below from the Hon. Emma Hurst MLC:
Until now, strata complexes in New South Wales have been allowed to have by-laws that prevent people having a companion animal in their care, with nothing stopping strata management from retrospectively creating restrictions for residents who live under a strata scheme. The Animal Justice Party has changed that.
There are many reasons these laws needed to change. Thousands of animals are killed in pounds every year and by-laws were stopping families from rescuing these animals and providing them a safe and loving forever home.
Animal-ban by-laws were even being brought in retrospectively - recently Colin and his greyhound Bu were facing losing their home because of a retrospective by-law that meant Colin couldn't live with Bu in the property he owns.
These new laws will also help some of the most vulnerable members of our communities. Accommodation for victims fleeing violence with animals is one of the major reasons people delay leaving dangerous situations. Over 90% of victims report a lack of animal friendly accommodation as a barrier for fleeing violence and nearly 50% delay leaving because of issues trying to find alternative accommodation with animals.
Strata schemes were also reportedly requiring people to prove that an animal is an assistance animal in contradiction to section 9 of the Disability Discrimination Act.
Animal companionship has dramatically increased during lockdowns and by-laws could have created a threat to many families and animals across NSW if strata schemes were allowed to impose blanket animal bans, leaving families and their animals nowhere to go.
We are a nation of animal lovers, and our state must become more companion animal friendly- this is the first step. Companion animals are family members and no one should have to face losing their home, especially now while we are still in the midst of a pandemic, simply because of a by-law.
To get the support of the Government, Regulations around the definition of ‘unreasonable’ were created following public consultation. The regulations have just been released: https://legacy.legislation.nsw.gov.au/regulations/2021-464.pdf
MEDIA CONTACT: ROSIE RAYNS, 0401 991 792