RSPCA WA RESPONSE TO THE REPORT BY THE SELECT COMMITTEE
The Select Committee to inquire into the operations of the RSPCA WA was established in the Upper House of the Parliament of Western Australia on 13 May 2015.
It has taken more than a year for this inquiry to finally reach a conclusion. During this time, RSPCA WA has endeavoured, at great expense, to co-operate with the demands placed on our organisation by this Committee.
The majority report that has been tabled today by three members of the committee is the result of a political exercise to cast doubts over the operations of the RSPCA WA and this has clearly been unsuccessful. The vast majority of the recommendations are about the Department of Agriculture and Food and the Animal Welfare Act 2002.
RSPCA WA questions why it was necessary to put a charitable organisation through the expense and stress of a Parliamentary inquiry when a simple review of the Animal Welfare Act 2002 would have sufficed. Indeed, the first recommendation of the majority report is for a review of the Act, which could be undertaken at much less cost to both the taxpayer and RSPCA WA.
RSPCA WA has previously called for the Act to be reviewed.
The biased and unfair approach by three of the committee members has led to a majority report that lacks balance and properly informed evidence resulting in a large number of inaccurate and flawed findings and recommendations. In addition, we believe the RSPCA WA, its staff, volunteers and supporters have been unfairly criticised.
Throughout the inquiry, RSPCA WA has been denied procedural fairness including just last week being given only three business days to respond to a 12 page document of unsubstantiated allegations by mostly unidentified people. It has been the case throughout this inquiry that three committee members have continually focussed on accounts by a small group of people who have been investigated and or charged with offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2002, or people who have put their commercial interests ahead of animal welfare.
The actions of the committee’s majority are at odds with public opinion about animal welfare issues in Western Australia.
On the other hand, the minority report, also tabled today, has rebutted all of the flawed findings of the majority report and has found that public trust in our organisation is well placed and in every respect RSPCA WA has met the highest standards of accountability and transparency.
We note that all the committee members have concluded that RSPCA WA should receive increased funding from the State Government.
We are pleased that this inquiry has finally come to an end and we can now re-focus all our resources towards preventing animal cruelty which we will continue to do with objectivity, and without fear or favour.
We will review the report and respond directly to the State Government.
19 May 2016