Dogs on beaches

  • Project statusOutcome determined
  • Last updatedApril 2023
A group of women walking their dogs on Narrows Beach in Queenscliff

We conducted a review of the Borough's 'dogs on beaches' laws to see if we needed to make changes. Through the initial part of this review, a proposal emerged to remove the restrictions preventing dogs on beaches during the summer period.

Engagement report

More than 1,250 respondents from across the Borough and beyond let us know their thoughts on the proposed changes to Council's dogs on beaches laws — almost three times as many people that took part in our previously most popular survey. Throughout the course of October and November 2022, our community told us the myriad reasons for and against enacting these changes.

The findings gathered from the online survey have been presented to Councillors alongside outcomes from key stakeholder discussions. This information will be used to inform Council's decision-making on the matter, which is expected to be raised at an Ordinary Meeting in the near future.

What we heard

In response to the proposed changes to Council's dogs on beaches laws, an almost two-thirds majority (65%) were in favour of the move. A smaller majority (54%) also supported the introduction of a year-round designated dog-free zone. Point Lonsdale Front Beach was the most commonly suggested location, outstripping the next most popular spot by two to one.

Many respondents chose to provide additional comments to give context to their survey response. 85% of people who disagreed with the law change proposal also shared their opinion in a comment, compared to less than half of those in favour of the change.

Throughout these comments, emerging themes included local law enforcement and compliance, safety of children and the elderly, and protection of wildlife.

Conversations we had

While the survey results continued to roll in, Councillors and Council officers engaged in constructive discussions with key stakeholders including land managers and volunteer organisations.

Parks Victoria, which co-manage a section of the beach as part of the Port Philip Heads Marine National Park, expressed interest in aligning their existing dog laws with the Borough's.

Meanwhile, local wildlife groups such as the Swan Bay Environment Association discussed the potential impact on threatened species such as the hooded plover.

We also referenced existing strategies, plans and policies including the Wadawurrung Paleert Tjaara Dja Healthy Country Plan.

Read the full survey results

You can read the full results of Council's online survey, including breakdowns of demographics and trending themes, by clicking the link below. 

Read the full consultation report(PDF, 2MB)

Review outcome

Comprehensive analysis was undertaken, and given it is impractical having conflicting dog regulations between Council Local Laws and Parks Victoria Regulations, it was determined that an amendment to the dog restriction dates in December is required.

A recommendation that the summer dog restrictions be brought forward from the 15th of December to the 1st of December through until the last day of February in any year, was adopted at the March Ordinary Meeting of Council.

Dogs are not permitted on any beach in the municipal district between the hours of 9.00 am and 8.00 pm each day from the period of the first day of December until the last day of February in any year.

Dogs are still allowed on the dog beach all year round.

Click here to read the Public Notice