- Funding for the RSPCA will double under a re-elected McGowan Government
- Stop Puppy Farming laws will be reintroduced to Parliament, after it was blocked in Upper House
- Guide Dogs WA to receive $5 million to set up a world class breeding program and increase the number of dogs available to clients
A re-elected McGowan Labor Government will have a strong focus on animal welfare, investing more than $9.3 million into not-for-profit organisations that focus on animal protection and welfare.
The package includes a doubling of funding to the RSPCA, which will allow the organisation to increase their inspectorate services to meet demand in metropolitan Perth, and regional and remote WA.
A separate allocation of $250,000 will be provided to the RSPCA for a pet sterilisation pilot program that will be available to concession card holders in WA, meaning they will only pay a nominal fee to have their pets sterilised. In addition to pet sterilisation, the program will also include discounted microchipping and lifetime council registration.
Legislation to stop puppy farming, which received overwhelming community support during the McGowan Government’s first term in office, will be reintroduced to Parliament as a priority. The rejection of the legislation by the Liberals over the last term puts the welfare, safety and health of dogs in WA at jeopardy.
A new Animal Welfare Act will be drafted, based on the findings of the review into existing Act. The review, which was undertaken by an independent expert panel, will be released and used to inform work with stakeholders to deliver a modern Animal Welfare Act that positively promotes animal welfare.
The establishment of an Animal Welfare Advisory Committee that reports to the Minister will also be prioritised, to advise the Minister on matters relating to the care, use and treatment of animals in any context ranging from companion animals, to livestock, to pest animals, to animals used in research.
To assist Guide Dogs WA meet the current unmet need for trained guide dogs, $5 million will be provided to set up a world class breeding program at multiple locations across the state.
The funding will increase the number of available puppies in Western Australia and broaden the reach of highly trained dogs to include autism assistance dogs, therapy dogs, dementia dogs, court dogs in the justice system, post-traumatic stress disorder and mental health assistance dogs, in addition to guide dogs.
The Canine Spay/Neutering Outreach Program, run by Murdoch Univeristy’s veterinary graduate program, will receive $165,000 over three years from the State Government under the WA Wild Dog Action Plan. The program, led by Dr Nicole Laing, runs five trips a year to the Kimberley and Goldfields, with 35-40 veterinary students helping to neuter around 200-400 dogs annually under the supervision of qualified veterinarians from the School of Veterinary Medicine.
A $2 million Community Animal Welfare Small Grants program, to be administered by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, will offer grants to charities and NGOs to improve the commitment to responsible pet ownership and provide quality animal welfare services to the community, including a focus on emergency management for animals in state disasters.
Comments to be attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:
“Western Australians love their pets, in fact surveys have shown that we have one of the highest household rates of pet ownership in the world.
“As a dog owner myself, I am very pleased to announce that a re-elected WA Labor Government will invest $9.3 million into animal welfare and we will put an end to puppy farming.
“In the last financial year, the RSPCA investigated over 6,800 animal cruelty reports, a shocking figure that most Western Australians would be appalled by.
“By doubling the funding to the RSPCA, we can increase the number of inspectors and hopefully see a decrease in the incidence of cruelty.
“The provision of $5 million to Guide Dogs WA is another exciting initiative that will help many, many people who currently don’t have access to these special dogs and help them with their day-to-day living.
“We all want to see our four legged friends live strong, healthy lives in a loving and caring environment and this package will help achieve that.”