Animal Protection Act 2018

The Northern Territory Government has primary responsibility for animal welfare and laws to prevent cruelty under the existing Animal Welfare Act 1999. This covers the welfare of animals in the care of humans, as well as those in their natural environment.

The Animal Protection Act 2018 builds upon the previous regulatory framework, which includes clearly defined rights, roles and responsibilities for government, industry and the community.

The new Act received assent in late 2018 but commencement will not take place until the supporting Animal Protection Regulations have been approved by the government.

New initiatives

New initiatives to note include:

  • the legal responsibility of drivers to appropriately restrain dogs riding on the tray or back of motor vehicles while travelling on public roads
  • where racing greyhounds are kept, it is now an offence to keep other animals on the premises that may be used for blooding greyhounds, this includes rabbits and possums
  • the rights of Aboriginal Territorians to undertake traditional cultural, hunting and fishing practices under Aboriginal laws and customs have been protected
  • the maximum term of imprisonment under the new Act increases from 2 to 5 years and the maximum fine will increase from 200 to 500 penalty units. Read more about penalty units and how it's calculated on the Department of Attorney-General and Justice website.


Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade
Phone: 08 8999 2394

Last updated: 06 April 2022

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