Dr WOODRUFF - Minister, assistance dogs for people with PTSD and other mental health conditions - particularly veterans - have previously been trained within Tasmania through a program at Risdon Prison, where inmates were guided through the process of training assistance dogs. I understand that program has stopped and there is no longer the availability of that pool of dogs, if you like. A similar program for training assistance dogs for veterans still exists in Victoria and Queensland through their defence community dogs. Part of the training process has the dogs spending extended time with their trainer, including in their cell, which has benefits for the inmate as well.
Minister, will you commit to working with the minister for Corrections to reinstate this program to train assistance dogs within the prison system, to provide a greater pool of available animals for veterans, and provide the additional benefits for inmates involved in the program at the same time, as an added offshoot benefit?
Mr BARNETT - Thanks very much for the question. Clearly it is directly relevant to the Minister for Corrections and Rehabilitation. But with respect to providing support for veterans, I am advised that this matter was raised at the veterans' reference group. I indicated my thanks to them and their work. Thank you for again alerting us to those matters. That is something we can follow up.
Dr WOODRUFF - Minister, thanks. You will have a conversation with the minister about it?
Mr BARNETT - It's something that I will follow up with my department to ascertain where things are at. We'll do anything we can to support our veterans in Tasmania.