A 50 per cent pensioner discount on annual dog registrations will apply across all classes of dogs in the South Burnett next year (Photo: Operation Wanted)
SBRC Cr Kathy Duff believes the success of a community is judged by how it treats the most vulnerable

November 24, 2021

South Burnett pensioners will be able to get a 50 per cent discount on all dog registration fees next year, regardless of whether their pets are desexed and microchipped or not.

The surprise backflip came after a public address at Wednesday’s South Burnett Regional Council general meeting by Nanango pensioner Steve Dyer.

Mr Dyer chided Councillors for a decision at October’s General Meeting that rejected extending an existing pensioner discount to registrations of all classes of dogs, not just desexed and microchipped ones.

Using Council’s own figures, reported in a southburnett.com.au article last month, Mr Dyer said he had calculated this decision benefitted Council by less than $1950 a year.

He then produced a list of 13 regions – including neighbouring Gympie and North Burnett councils – which had moved to give pensioners a 50 per cent discount on all animal registrations in the past three years.

Mr Dyer said the South Burnett’s dog registration charges were an “embarrassment” by comparison, noting that pensioners accounted for 30 to 35 per cent of the region’s population.

He said Council officers estimated there were only about 110 pensioners in the South Burnett who were charged the full rate for owning entire, unchipped dogs in town areas.

He asked why Council appeared so intent on punishing these people, pointing out that the cost of desexing and chipping a single dog could be as much as a week’s pension.

It would be far better for everyone, he said, to extend a flat 50 per cent discount to all Centrelink pension card holders.

The impact on Council’s revenues would be negligible, but the impact on the lives of the small number of affected pensioners would be immense.

Mr Dyer’s address was followed by a motion from Cr Kathy Duff that Council provide a 50 per cent discount on all dog registration fees for eligible residents in receipt of a pension card.

The motion was seconded by Cr Danita Potter.

Cr Duff said the annual registration fee for a non-desexed, non-microchipped dog was $170 and the fee for a non-desexed, microchipped dog was $131.

Since most dogs were now microchipped, giving pensioners a 50 per cent discount would reduce the annual registration cost to $65.50 a year.

“I don’t think that is too much to ask to support some of the most vulnerable people in our community,” Cr Duff said.

“I think we need to support this on compassionate grounds. If we can’t support our pensioners, who can we support?”

Cr Duff said it cost about $250 to desex a male dog and $450 to desex a female dog.

“Pensioners struggle sometimes to put food on the table and in some cases their dog is their only companion,” she said.

“I don’t believe that the small dogs most pensioners have are the ones causing problems on our streets. They are mostly small companion dogs they keep for company and for their mental health and well-being.

“I urge you to support our pensioners, who are some of the most vulnerable people.

“I believe the success of a community is measured by how well it treats the most vulnerable.”

However, this view was not shared by Deputy Mayor Gavin Jones.

Cr Jones said he understood the high fee placed some pensioners under stress.

However, if they were facing a $170 annual registration fee for owning an entire, non-chipped dog and took it to a vet for a $325 desexing and chipping operation, the annual registration fee would immediately drop to $16.50.

This meant they could recoup their outlay in two or three years, and after that they would be saving about $155 a year for the remaining life of the animal.

Importantly, this price difference also provided a powerful incentive to desex dogs.

“We have an issue with animals across the region, and the problem is entire dogs,” Cr Jones said.

“Why does anyone need one? So no, I won’t be supporting this motion.”

When Cr Duff’s motion was put to a vote, it was carried 4-3 with Crs Jones, Henschen and Frohloff opposed.

However, as annual registration bills have recently been sent out and many have already been paid, the new discount will not be available until the 2022 renewal notices are sent out next October.

Footnote: In December 2020 the SBRC introduced a 50 per cent pensioner discount for all classes of dogs except for non-desexed and non-microchipped dogs kept in town areas.

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One Response to "Pensioners Get Discount … In 2022"

  1. I would like to express sincere gratitude and thanks to Mayor Otto and Councillors Duff, Potter and Schumacher for their compassion and positive attitude to easing the burden of excessive fees faced by pensioners when registering their dogs. On behalf of South Burnett pensioners, thank you, Steve Dyer, Nanango.

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