National RSPCA urged to resolve conflict

The Examiner, Fri 16th Nov 2016

THE national RSPCA body has been called in to sort out the embattled Tasmanian branch amid calls to dismiss the board.

RSPCA Tasmanian president Dr Paul Swiatkowski said the state body had sought administrative support from RSPCA Australia.

“Particularly because we obviously haven’t had our CEO or a human resources officer in place,” Dr Swiatkowski said. 

The Tasmanian arm of the charity is struggling financially and this month sacked its second chief executive officer in two years.

Dr Swiatkowski said   negotiations with the national arm consisted of  dealing with complex legal issues.

The state government has also urged the national organisation to step in and has sought assurances about $800,000 in taxpayers’ money allocated to the Tasmanian body.

Half the government funding pays for animal welfare inspection services and an additional $400,000 was promised last month to assist the charity recover from its financial woes.

Primary Industries Minister Bryan Green rejected the Greens’ calls to intervene and sack the three board members and appoint an administrator.

“I do not run the RSPCA,” Mr Green told Parliament yesterday.

“However, what we can do is talk to the national body responsible because I am sure it would be concerned that their brand is coming under scrutiny here in Tasmania as a result of the shenanigans going on within the organisation at the moment.

“I have asked them to assure the government that the funds are being expended in an appropriate way.”

Liberal primary industries spokesman Jeremy Rockliff questioned whether the RSPCA could be trusted with public funds and  called for the Public Accounts Committee to investigate.

Dr Swiatkowski said the criticism from the Greens and Liberal Party was damaging.

“For them to come out of  the blue and effectively bag the RSPCA without seeking any information from us is incredible,” he said.

He said the board had done nothing wrong and had been buoyed by the public support it had received in recent weeks.

RSPCA Australia president Lynne Bradshaw did not return The Examiner’s calls.

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