Assistance Animals

Project Status:

Tabled in parliament

Start Date:


Tabled in Parliament Date:



At the time of this report, approximately 300 Victorians with a disability relied on assistance animals to help them lead their lives. Although federal and state laws provided protection against discrimination for these people, the law was patchy and sometimes inconsistent.

In 2008, following a suggestion from the Victorian Human Rights Commission, the VLRC initiated a Community Law Reform Project reviewing the laws governing the use of assistance animals by people with a disability.

Our consultation paper, published in July 2008, identified inconsistencies and gaps in the regulation of assistance animals and in the laws protecting users of assistance animals. Our call for submissions received 28 responses and we also consulted with a broad range of interested parties.

The Commission’s report, tabled in Parliament on 29 January 2009, recommended improving the legal protection for people with disabilities who rely on assistance animals. Amendments were suggested to the Equal Opportunity Act 1995 (Vic) and the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) to strengthen the rights of users. The report also recommended establishing a simple regulatory scheme for the training, registration and identification of assistance animals.

Community Law Reform Projects are conducted in accordance with section 5(1)(b) of the Victorian Law Reform Commission Act 2000 (Vic), which empowers the Commission to initiate inquiries of general community concern, provided they are limited in size and scope. More about Community Law Reform can be found here.

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Project Stage

  • Terms of reference received
  • Submissions and consultations
  • Submissions closed
  • Final Report
  • Tabled in parliament