Animal Protection Act 2018

The Northern Territory Government has primary responsibility for animal welfare and laws to prevent cruelty under the existing Animal Welfare Act 1999 which covers the welfare of animals in the care of humans, as well as those in their natural environment.

The Animal Protection Act 2018 builds upon previous regulatory framework includes clearly defined rights, roles and responsibilities for government, industry and the community. The new Act received assent in late 2018 but commencement will not take place until the supporting Animal Protection Regulations have been approved by Government.

The Animal Protection Act 2018 and regulations are expected to commence in the first quarter of 2020.

New initiatives to note include:

  • The legal responsibility of drivers to appropriately restrain dogs riding on the tray or back of motor vehicles while travelling on public roads.
  • Fish, crustaceans and cephalopods (including those in captivity) are now included under the definition of animal.
  • Where racing greyhounds are kept, it is now an offence to keep other animals on the premises that may be used for blooding greyhounds. This includes rabbits and possums.
  • The rights of Aboriginal Territorians to undertake traditional cultural, hunting and fishing practices in accordance with Aboriginal laws and customs have been protected.
  • The maximum term of imprisonment under the new Act increases from two to five years and the maximum fine will increase from 200 penalty units (currently equating to $31,400) to 500 penalty units (equating to $78,500). Note that one penalty unit currently equals $157.

Further information on administrative powers, statutory requirements, the use of animals for scientific purposes, powers of authorised officers and offences is available from the Animal Protection Bill 2018 factsheet PDF (152.9 KB).

More information

To find out more read the following:

Contact the Department of Primary Industry and Resources:
T: 08 8999 2394
E: info.dpir@nt.gov.au

Last updated: 15 November 2019

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