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The Conservation Council ACT Region welcomed the opportunity to comment on the Draft ACT Cat Plan 2019-29.

As an advocate for the environment in the ACT region, the negative impact of roaming domestic cats and feral cats on our local wildlife has been of ongoing concern to us for many years.

Our involvement extends back to ensuring the first cat containment suburbs of Forde and Bonner, next to Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve, were declared in 2004. Community attitudes towards cat containment have shifted since this time and there is a general acceptance that cat containment delivers benefits for wildlife, and for the wellbeing of people’s pets. There is nationwide support for better domestic cat management and Canberra has the opportunity to be a leader in demonstrating how pet-owning communities can coexist with vulnerable wildlife.

The Conservation Council has long held the view that cat containment should be applied across the whole of Canberra and that it should occur by a date prescribed in advance. We continue to support implementation of city-wide cat containment by 2025. More broadly, the Conservation Council supports the strategy to promote responsible cat ownership, which recognises that people care for the health and wellbeing of their cat, as well as taking responsibility for their cat’s impact on wildlife and the nuisance it may cause other people.

It is a positive step that the ACT Government is now engaging with the Canberra community on the issue of cat management to improve outcomes for everyone, including cats, owners and native wildlife, and we look forward to the finalisation of policy on this issue later in 2019.

Read our submission in full here.