Each community has different needs and preferences when it comes to the regulation and control of cats. This guideline has been prepared as an alternative to a Model Cat Local Law, to assist local governments in developing a Cat Local Law that caters
for their unique situation. This will allow local governments to address their specific requirements, taking into account their level of resources.
Section 79 of the Cat Act 2011 (the Act), provides local governments with the power to make local laws on all matters that are required or permitted to be prescribed by a local law, or are necessary or convenient to be so prescribed, for it to perform
any of its functions under the Act.
In particular, without limiting the above, section 79(3) of the Act provides that a Cat Local Law may be made as to one or more of the following:
A Cat Local Law does not operate outside the district of the local government for which it is made and is inoperative to the extent it is inconsistent with the Act or any other written law.
It is important to note therefore, that any Cat Local Law currently in existence will also be inoperative to the extent that it is inconsistent with the Act or any other written law.
A local government needs to consider what elements of cat control they wish to regulate and only decide to make a local law if:
Through the integrated planning process, the community may advise that there is a need for particular areas of cat control. It is then a matter of deciding that if you need cat control, what exactly you do need.
For some local governments the Act and Cat Regulations 2012 may provide sufficient powers for the control of cats without the need for a local law. Others may find targeted education campaigns and policies in particular areas may be all that is needed
to supplement the legislation.
Specifically the Act and Cat Regulations 2012 already provide the following key ‘controls’ in respect of cats. The following is a brief outline of some sections of the Act dealing with offences and enforcement. You should refer to the relevant
section for a full understanding of the provision.
Schedule 2 of the Cat Regulations 2012 contains a table listing 14 offences for which infringement notices can be issued and modified penalties imposed.
If your local government already has a Cat Local Law in existence, there are some things to consider.
A local law should not reproduce any provision already covered in the Act or Cat Regulations 2012 either within the content of the local law or within boxed notes.
In its 23rd Report, the Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation indicated its concerns in relation to reproducing legislation in boxed notes in local laws.
Repeating the text of sections of other legislation as part of a local law can lead to confusion in cases where the text is later amended in the original legislation. The report can be downloaded from Parliament’s website.
Once gazetted, a local government may choose to include this additional information as part of an administrative version of the local law to assist the public. The administrative version would be available from the local government but would not be the
official gazetted version of the local law.
If your local government already has a Cat Local Law in effect, this law should be reviewed and if necessary amended to ensure there are no inconsistencies between it, the Act, the Cat Regulations 2012 and the Cat (Uniform Local Provisions) Regulations
2013. If the local law includes any duplication in provisions already contained in the Act or any other written law or includes any boxed explanatory notes these should be removed via an amendment to the local law.
In order to amend your Cat Local Law you need to follow the process outlined in section 3.12 of the Local Government Act 1995.
If it has been determined that there is a need for a Cat Local Law in your local government district, the following issues should be considered:
While section 79 of the Cat Act provides local governments with the power to make a local law in respect of cats, it is important to note that in making such a local law, local governments must follow the steps outlined in section 3.12 of the Local Government
Act 1995. Any future amendments to existing or new Cat Local Laws will also need to be done in accordance with the process outlined in this section.
For further information about making a local law under section 3.12 of the Local Government Act 1995, please see the department’s Operational Guidelines “Local Laws”.
To help local governments draft local laws and ensure consistency and high quality in local laws throughout the State, it is recommended that local government legislation conform to Parliamentary Counsel’s office drafting standards for State legislation.
This is also consistent with the approach taken in other jurisdictions.
Queensland’s document “Guidelines for drafting of local laws” (PDF 481 KB)(1 July 2010) is a good starting point.
The Western Australian publication from the Parliamentary Counsel’s Office “How to Read Legislation — for Beginners” also
contains useful information about using plain English and structuring sections and defined terms:
A local law should not reproduce any provision already covered in the Act, Cat Regulations 2012 or the Cat (Uniform Local Provisions) Regulations 2013 either within the content of the local law or within boxed notes.
When creating a new local law it is important to ensure that the law does not unnecessarily duplicate provisions or requirements already covered in the principal Act or Regulations. Further information on the reasoning for this is covered under the section
“Current Cat Local Laws” in this guideline.
The layout of Cat Local Laws and specific matters that Cat Local Laws may include
This Part usually sets out:
What is the title of your local law?
For example: This local law may be cited as the Shire of ….Cat Local Law 2014.
The local law may come into effect on the day after gazettal or at some other time after this.
For example: This local law comes into operation 14 days after the date of its publication in the Government Gazette.
Is the new local law replacing an older local law? If so, the local law being replaced should be repealed in this clause. If there is no previous local law being replaced then this clause is not required.
For example: The Shire of …Cat Local Law 2013 published in the Government Gazette on [insert date] is repealed.
What terms used within your local law need to be defined?
Note: If a term is already defined in the Act or the Cat Regulations 2012, it is not necessary to define the term here.
For example: In this local law unless the context otherwise requires:
Where do you want your local law to apply? In most cases this will be simply within the relevant local government district.
For example: This local law applies throughout the district.
Under this Part, you can include the specific local laws required in your local government area. This can include one or more of the local laws as provided for under section 79(3) of the Act or other matters necessary to perform functions under the Act
The Act is comprehensive in its provisions for cat registration. There may not be any local laws you need to make, but if so, the Act provides for a registration of cat local law to be made.
The CMF operator is not to release a cat seized and impounded to any person unless that person has produced, to the satisfaction of the operator, the following evidence:
The owner or occupier of premises on which a cat is ordinarily kept shall prevent the cat from creating a nuisance on other premises, to another person or exposing another person to health and/or safety risks by:
(Requiring that in specified areas, a portion of the premises on which a cat is kept must be enclosed in a manner capable of confining cats)
Note: You should also refer to the Cat (Uniform Local Provisions) Regulations 2013 regarding cat numbers and protections of existing cats.
The limit on the number of cats which may be kept on any premises is:
(The establishment, maintenance, licensing, regulation, construction, use, record keeping and inspection of cat management facilities (CMFs)).
In considering local laws for CMFs you may wish to consider:
With the consent of the operator, a local government can enter a CMF for inspection at any time.
Fees and charges payable in respect of any matter under the Cat Act could be included here
Refer to section 84 of the Act – Creating offences and prescribing penalties.
Local governments could consider the following:
The information and advice within this document is provided voluntarily by the department as a public service. The information and advice is provided in good faith and is derived from sources believed to be reliable and accurate. No representation or warranty, express or implied, is made as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for purpose of this document. The reader of this document should satisfy him or herself concerning its application to their situation. The State of Western Australia, the department and their officers expressly disclaim liability for any act or omission occurring in reliance on this document or for any consequences of such act or omission. Current as at June 2014.
Do not submit enquiries with this form.