Queensland is the only state to have a specific law covering assistance dogs — The Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dogs Act 2009 (GHADA).

The QLD specific legislation is more restrictive than the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act in that it :

  • Restricts assistance dogs access to ambulances.
  • Restricts access to food preparation areas. This means kitchens, it doesn’t apply to the public spaces of restaurants and cafes.
  • Authorizes only approved organisations and individuals to certify assistance dogs.

Because our model does not fit into the regulations, mindDog is not authorised under the GHADA. mindDog uses a two tiered system of local Assessors and Trainers. This is not permitted under the QLD GHADA regulations.

The GHADA was written in 2009 before the development of psychiatric assistance dogs and thus, is heavily skewed toward physical assistance dogs.

mindDog operates under the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA). The definition of an assistance dog, as stated in the DDA is;

  • (2) For the purposes of this Act, an assistance animal is a dog or other animal:
      • (a) accredited under a law of a State or Territory that provides for the accreditation of animals trained to assist a persons with a disability to alleviate the effect of the disability; or
      • (b) accredited by an animal training organisation prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this paragraph; or
      • (c) trained:
        • (i) to assist a person with a disability to alleviate the effect of the disability; and
        • (ii) to meet standards of hygiene and behaviour that are appropriate for an animal in a public place.

It is important to know that the GHADA contains a note referring to the DDA in Part 3 section (3):
Note —
A person with a disability may also have a right of action under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cwlth).

Essentially, this means that the QLD law recognises the power of the federal law.