The Queensland Audit Office (QAO) commenced an audit in March 2021 of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries oversight of RSPCA inspectors in exercising their powers under the Act. The QAO tabled its final report on Regulating Animal Welfare in November 2021. Amendments made to the Act last year address some of the recommendations from the final report.
One of those changes sees the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries assuming carriage of all future animal welfare prosecutions in Queensland.
This change in no way impacts RSPCA Queensland’s day-to-day Inspectorate operations which involves investigating animal welfare breaches under the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 and providing community support.
RSPCA Queensland’s Inspectorate will continue to rescue or seize animals where appropriate and vital donations that were used to support an in-house prosecutions team, will be redirected towards achieving more animal outcomes through rescue, treatment, rehabilitation, and rehoming.
RSPCA Queensland will continue to submit cases for prosecution and RSPCA Inspectors will still be responsible for providing briefs of evidence to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, attending court as required, and managing all prosecutions currently before the courts.
RSPCA Queensland accepts this decision and expects the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries to continue to take reported animal welfare concerns seriously, in line with community expectations. The Inspectorate welcomes the improved governance that the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries as the administrator of the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 can provide.
RSPCA Queensland will continue to advocate for better animal welfare on behalf of the community and our generous donors.
If you see an animal welfare concern, contact the RSPCA’s 24/7 Animal Emergency Hotline 1300 ANIMAL (264 625) or report non-urgent cases online.