Assistance Dog on Christmas Island

Number: A75/2019

Relevant: Christmas Island

Topic: Assistance Dog on Christmas Island

Date: 11 December 2019

The Carr family has requested approval to bring an Assistance Dog to Christmas Island (CI) to provide support and assistance for their teenage son, Luke.

Assistance Dogs are sometimes mistaken as pets but they are, in fact, specially trained animals that assist a person with a disability to alleviate its effects, in their public and personal life. They have unique public access rights and are trained to meet standards of hygiene and behaviour appropriate for an animal in a public place.

“Shiloh”, the Assistance Dog, is currently undergoing intensive training in Perth, specifically designed to provide the necessary type of assistance for Luke.

Despite the general restrictions on dogs under unique laws on CI (Importation of Dogs and Cats Ordinance 1973 (CI)) that were designed to address environmental and animal welfare concerns, I have authority to approve the import of an Assistance Dog if it meets all the mandatory requirements defined under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) (DDA). 

The Shire of CI would have the responsibility for ensuring compliance, including fencing requirements, under the Shire of Christmas Island Dogs Local Law 2018 (Dog Law), and movement of a dog between mainland Australia and CI would be governed under the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ import conditions.

As part of the process, I have asked the Carr family to seek support from the broader CI community, in relation to their request for the Assistance Dog. The Christmas Island Islamic Council through its President has advised me that they support this particular application for an Assistance Dog.

To ensure timely consideration, feedback is requested by 30 December 2019. Please contact the family directly to offer your support, or contact my Chief of Staff, Ben Hosking, on 08 9164 7959 or at ben.hosking@infrastructure.gov.au

Mrs Natasha Griggs
Administrator of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands