Author Topic: Critics in a cat flap - Tasmania  (Read 2332 times)

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Critics in a cat flap - Tasmania
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2013, 07:48:19 PM »
THE State Government has defended its decision to hand the embattled RSPCA Tasmania more than $50,000 in grants while its finances are under investigation by a government committee.

Environment Minister Brian Wightman said on Tuesday $155,000 in grants would go to seven groups to help the change to landmark new cat management laws.

RSPCA Tasmania, which recently sacked chief executive Ben Sturges and was accused of neglecting animals at its northern shelter in a public stoush with Mr Sturges' supporters, has been granted $56,500 to carry out desexing and microchipping, improving shelters in the north and south, and trapping feral cats.

But Stop Tasmanian Animal Cruelty spokeswoman Suzanne Cass said it was unacceptable that more taxpayer funds had been given to an organisation that was the subject of a Public Accounts Committee hearing in the near future, with the submission period now closed.
"Given they are the subject of an inquiry, what accountability and transparency measures have been put in place to quarantine that money to ensure the money is not spent on more legal fees?" she asked.

The RSPCA has spent tens of thousands of dollars on lawyers in recent months.

 "The Government should not be giving them a cent until the outcome of that inquiry," Ms Cass said.

The committee was established after Deputy Premier Bryan Green expressed concern over the RSPCA's operations in Parliament late last year and was agreed to by all three parties.

But Mr Sturges withdrew his Fair Work Australia complaint last week.

 RSPCA Tasmania president Paul Swiatkowski said the charity had done nothing wrong and that criticism of the Government funding was therefore unfounded.

"The aim of the cat legislation is to protect wildlife and keep cats in control," he said. "It's a core part of what we do.".
Mr Wightman said the RSPCA was just one of the groups receiving grants under the program, which was designed to benefit cat owners, animal welfare groups, and provide environmental protection.

"While it has some well-documented challenges at the moment, the RSPCA remains a significant and valued part of Tasmania's animal welfare community, and continues to provide important services," he said.
Zara Dawtrey 18.02.2013