Responsible Pet Ownership Reference Group

In recognition of the importance of pet cats and dogs to the NSW community, the Minister for Local Government established the Responsible Pet Ownership Reference Group (Reference Group).

The primary purpose of the Reference Group is to provide advice to the Minister for Local Government on strategic companion animals management issues to promote responsible pet ownership. This advice is on:

  • responsible pet ownership policy and legislative development and review
  • implementation of recommendations from the Companion Animals Taskforce accepted by the NSW Government and other policies developed by the Office of Local Government
  • merging policy issues involving responsible pet ownership in NSW, and
  • best practice relating to the management of cats and dogs in NSW.

The Reference Group does not provide advice on matters more appropriately considered by the NSW Animal Welfare Advisory Council.

Reference Group members have a broad range of skills and experience relevant to the review and implementation of policies related to the management of cats and dogs. The membership is chosen from a broad range of organisations with particular expertise in responsible pet ownership and companion animal matters.

The Reference Group meets at least twice and no more than four times per year.

The current members of the Reference Group are:

  • Mr Justin Clancy (Chair), Member for Albury
  • Ms Margaret Gaal, President, Australian Institute of Local Government Rangers NSW
  • Dr Diane Ryan, President, Australian Veterinary Association NSW
  • Ms Maureen Norberry, Senior Vice President, Cat Fanciers Association NSW
  • Dr Karen Hedberg, Board Member, Dogs NSW
  • Mr Rob Dario, Compliance Team Leader, Dubbo Regional Council
  • Mr Barry Codling, Board President, Pet Industry Association of Australia
  • Dr Liz Arnott, Chief Veterinarian, Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
  • Mr Brett Richardson, Manager, Public Safety Unit, Sutherland Shire Council
  • Dr Renae Jackson, Animal Care Manager and Veterinarian, Sydney Dogs and Cats Home
  • Ms Kristina Vesk OAM, Chief Executive Officer, The Cat Protection Society of NSW Limited, and
  • Dr John Baguley Registrar Veterinary Practitioners Board of NSW

The Reference Group may invite further NSW Government representatives or external experts to attend the meetings as required and may call on other relevant experts to form smaller, informal subcommittees and/or to provide advice on specific recommendations or other matters as needed.

Administrative support, including inviting members, organising meetings and business papers is provided by the Office of Local Government, who allocate an Officer to act as the Secretariat for the Reference Group.