OFFICE OF ANIMAL WELFARE
The Greens NSW will establish an Independent Animal Protection Agency (also called an Independent Office of Animal Welfare) to monitor, enforce and drive change in animal welfare law and practice in NSW.
The office would be the primary body responsible for regulating animal welfare in NSW. This would strip the Department of Primary industries of its role as the key animal welfare regulator in NSW and would have a staff of forty, including animal welfare investigators to work with the police to identify and prosecute animal cruelty.
The office would be the primary body responsible for administering the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 (PoCTAA) and regulating animal welfare in NSW. This would strip the Department of Primary industries of its role as the key animal welfare regulator in NSW and would have a staff of forty, including animal welfare investigators to work with the police to identify and prosecute animal cruelty.
Similar to the Similar to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), the office would have regulatory and enforcement powers. The office would be empowered to:
- Monitor compliance with the PoCTAA including the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulation 2012 and incorporated Codes of Practice.
- Oversee the appointment of inspectors and officers under the PoCTAA and manage their performance.
- Licence certain activities relating to animal welfare for example dog breeding, slaughterhouse regulations, farm animals, horse racing and greyhound racing and kangaroo management plans and make recommendations to improve animal welfare outcomes and end cruel practices.
- Review existing animal welfare policy and laws in NSW and advocate for reforms necessary to improve animal welfare outcomes.
- Investigate breaches of existing animal welfare laws and policies and prosecute organisations and individuals who break NSW animal welfare laws.
- Liaise with the police and the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to detect, enforce and prosecute animal cruelty cases.
- Develop formalised relationships with animal welfare organisations to detect and report possible animal welfare abuse. Grants will be provided on a merit basis.
- Commission research and prepare reports on animal welfare issues relevant to the state of NSW
- Manage the animal welfare grant program
Grants program improvement
The Greens NSW will almost double current grants provided to animal organisations to detect animal cruelty and provide services including shelters ($533,000) to a total of 1 million. The grant criteria will also be broadened to ensure that funding is equitably allocated. Currently almost 80% of funding goes to just one organisation (the RSPCA NSW – $424,000). These changes would bring NSW into line with the grants model currently in place in Victoria.