Victorian Parliament- 22nd August 2017- Mr O'Sullivan — I wish to speak to the inquiry into the RSPCA. Like the other committee members, I would like to thank Lilian Topic and also Matt Newington for the work they have done in pulling this together. They do a terrific job every time they get involved in a report.
The RSPCA is no doubt a very important organisation in this state and right around Australia with the work that it does in protecting animals. That is something that everyone in this chamber and everyone outside this chamber would absolutely agree on. But what has happened at times in the past is that the RSPCA have got their advocacy and their activism roles a bit confused, and at times I think they have not quite understood where their role is and what sorts of activities they really should be concentrating on. They have probably got into the activism a bit too much — I think particularly in other states, not so much in Victoria.
There is no doubt that under the review undertaken by former police commissioner Neil Comrie the RSPCA probably worked through some of the issues that it had previously, and under the chairmanship of Bernie Delaney now I think the RSPCA has taken steps forward in terms of understanding its role. Really its role needs to be around companion animals and making sure that people who have companion animals look after them. We heard that by and large when this is not happening it can be as a result of people having a mental illness. It is a very important role for the RSPCA to undertake there.
In terms of production animals, that is the domain of Agriculture Victoria, which is appropriate. I think we have that sorted out. One of the recommendations is also that the RSPCA has better consultation with animal stakeholder organisations to ensure that it gets its operations better organised and communicates better with those groups.