The RSPCA says an Upper House inquiry would give it the opportunity to tell its side of the story about the removal of eight koalas from Gunnedah’s Waterways Wildlife Park in north-west New South Wales.
The NSW Coalition has announced it will support the Greens’ push for a parliamentary investigation into why the animals were removed.
The park’s owners have disputed claims that the animals were malnourished and dehydrated and have accused the RSPCA of ignoring its own guidelines.
The inquiry would also examine the organisation’s relationship with a reality TV show that filmed the removal.
RSPCA CEO Steve Coleman says his organisation has done nothing wrong.
“The RSPCA welcomes the inquiry, why wouldn’t we?” he said.
“It provides an opportunity for the RSPCA to tell the other side of the story. It’s then and only then a point in time when people can make an informed judgment about what has or hasn’t occurred.
“We would hope to be able to tell the whole story without fear or favour, we have been unable to do that up until know due to issues around fairness and it being potentially material that might be considered defamatory.
“If via a parliamentary inquiry there is the opportunity without those issues being on foot to provide simply the facts, absolutely we welcome that opportunity.”
The Minister for Primary Industries, Steve Whan, says an independent veterinary report into the condition of the animals that were removed from the park appears to support the RSPCA’s actions.
He says Industry and Investment NSW is currently considering options in relation to various alleged breaches of the Exhibited Animals Protection Act by the park’s owners.