Veterans Affairs – Service Dogs in Corrections

Dr. WOODRUFF- Minister, service dogs for people with PTSD and other mental health conditions – especially veterans – have already been trained in Tasmania as part of a program at Risdon prison, where inmates were guided through the service dog training process. I understand that this program has stopped and there is no more availability for this group of dogs, if you will. A similar service dog training program for veterans still exists in Victoria and Queensland through their Defense Community Dogs. Part of the training process is for the dogs to spend a lot of time with their trainer, including in their cell, which also has benefits for the inmate.

Minister, will you commit to working with the Minister of Corrections to reinstate this service dog training program in the prison system, to provide more animals available to veterans and to provide benefits to inmates participating in the program at the same time, as an additional spin-off benefit?

Mr BARNET – Thank you very much for the question. It is clearly of direct concern to the Minister of Corrections and Rehabilitation. But with respect to support for veterans, I am advised that this issue was raised within the veterans reference group. I gave them my thanks and their work. Please alert us again to these issues. It is something that we can follow.

Dr. WOODRUFF- Minister, thank you. You will have a conversation with the minister about this?

Mr BARNET – This is something that I will follow up with my department to see where things stand. We will do all we can to support our veterans in Tasmania.

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