Property Rights Australia (PRA) was formed in 2003 to protect the property rights of those unfairly targeted by
the Vegetation Management Act 1999. We are a non-profit organisation of primary producers and small
business people mostly from rural and regional Queensland who are concerned about continuing
encroachments on the rights of private property owners. The organisation was formed to seek recognition and
protection of the rights of private property owners in the development, introduction and administration of
policies and legislation relating to the management of land, water and other natural resources. Set up in South
West Queensland, PRA’s membership now extends across most states and multiple major rural industries. PRA
is not affiliated with any political party.
Through consultation and feedback activities with members of PRA we tender the following issues for
consideration into the review of the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001:
Issue 1: Increasing Regulatory Burden Resulting from this Legislative Review
PRA is supportive of efforts by Government to develop effective regulation that achieves society’s legitimate
needs without imposing unnecessary burdens on businesses and individuals.
Regulatory burdens impact on primary producers’ capacity to operate their businesses through the time and
energy required for compliance activities being diverted away from running their enterprises and seeking
further productivity and profitability improvements.
The regulatory burden within Australian agriculture is effectively a cumulative one; resulting from the impact of
many individual regulations of which each regulation, seen in isolation, does not appear to represent a
significant imposition. Queensland agriculture was affected by regulation contained within over 75 Acts and
Regulations covering over 17,590 pages This does not include Council by-laws, associated Codes or Federal
Issue 2: Compliance and Enforcement
The potential to introduce PIN (penalty infringement notices) that allows for compliance action without
criminal prosecution will add additional regulatory burden onto rural landowners. The use of PIN must include
an automatic right to appeal in a Magistrate Court. If this is not the case, the use of PIN would be totally
unacceptable. All enforcement and compliance decisions must be open to scrutiny and appeal.
The current Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 allows for employees of RSPCA to be engaged as Inspectors
with powers delegated under this Act to investigate and enforce compliance. It has been publicly recognised
that a number of RSPCA engaged volunteers have previously participated in illegal farm invasions and have
known links with animal activist groups. Given this, the potential risk of other employees within the RSPCA
structure also having similar links is cause for concern. The use of PIN by RSPCA employees with delegated
compliance authority could give rise to the weaponising of PIN to support ideological beliefs expressed and
acted upon by animal activist groups. More rigor and vetting of all Public Servants, Police Officers and
externally Appointed Inspectors needs to occur to ensure they have no known links to animal activist
organisations or support the ideological intent expressed by these organisations. This is a critical issue to
ensure the general public has confidence in compliance and enforcement actions undertaken by people
appointed to investigate and enforce compliance under this act and all other local, State and Federal
Issue 3: Externally Appointed Inspectors
Currently Biosecurity Officers employed by DAFF and Inspectors employed by the RSPCA or Police Officers can
be appointed to investigate and enforce compliance. Given that RSPCA also has an advocacy role and some of
its employees have played an active role in illegal farm invasions PRA advocates that only a Queensland Public
Servants or Police Officers be given delegated powers to investigate and enforce compliance.
Currently it is up to RSPCA to ensure their officers abide by the code of conduct for the Queensland Public
Service. RSPCA is a charity and not a government entity and therefore not open to the level of public scrutiny
or accountability in regards to the operation of their officers/Inspectors. This is more concerning knowing that
some RSPCA employees have known links to animal activist’s organisations.
The risk of animal activism influencing government policy and regulatory systems to the detriment of
agricultural industries has been a costly exercise for governments. No other case is more relevant than the
shutdown of the Live Export Industry in 2011 and the resulting decision by the Federal Court in 2020 ruling
against the then government decision making and right to compensation awarded to affected landowners.
PRA does not support the continued use of employees of RSPCA to be externally appointed Inspectors. PRA
considers only Queensland Public Servants and Police Officers that have been appropriately vetted are given
delegated compliance and enforcement powers under any new legislation produced from this review process.
Issue 4: The Use of Dogs for Managing and Guarding Stock and Properties
There are over 270,000 stock herding dogs working across rural Australia with many breeds not just having an
ability to work but an instinctive desire to do so. Working dogs are critical to the day to day running of farms
and they are seen as much more than a tool. Rural communities see working dogs as companions and work
colleagues who are highly valued members of countless farm enterprises and rural businesses.
PRA does not support any future legislative restrictions resulting from this legislative review that will restrict or
hinder the use of dogs for working and guarding stock and properties.
Issue 5: Feral Animal Management
PRA members are extremely concern about the implications this review may have on feral pig management
and the use of dogs in feral pig management strategies.
The use of dogs for feral pig management within inaccessible and accessible crops and pastures is a highly
effective, cost effective and humane way of managing feral pest animals and without this option the
effectiveness of feral pig management strategies will be compromised. These restrictions would increase the
impacts generated by feral pig populations on agricultural production and biodiversity protection. Pig hunters
need to be recognised for the important role they play in protecting our state’s flora and fauna. Thousands of
hunting enthusiasts act as volunteer pest managers across the State.
To prevent the use of dogs for this purpose would only increase the rapidly expanding feral pig population in
Queensland. Any future restrictions that hinder or restrict the community’s response and capacity to undertake
integrated feral pig management should be balanced with the potential economic, social and environmental
impact that would come from an exotic disease outbreak. Feral pigs are the key vectors of exotic disease
spread and governments have a responsibility to ensure the use of hunting and working dogs for feral pest
control is not prevented or hindered through this legislative review.
Section 42 of the current Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 permits the killing of feral or pest animals so
long as the act is done in a way that causes the animal as little pain as is reasonable and the control complies
with any conditions prescribed under a regulation. PRA does not support a legislative ban or further
restrictions placed on the use of hunting and working dogs, trapping, baiting and shooting for the control of
animals scheduled as restrictive biosecurity matter under The Queensland Biosecurity Acts 2014.
Issue 6: Regulation of Common Surgical Procedures used in Commercial Livestock Production
Property Rights Australia would oppose the regulation of common procedures used in commercial livestock
production. Procedures such as castrating male cattle and spaying female cattle are widely used by very
experienced producers to manage their herds.
Such procedures are often carried out in very large numbers and remote locations. Most often, no vet would
be available within any reasonable distance nor in sufficient numbers with the necessary skill set (most vets
specialise in a small area such as dogs and cats) to ensure the smooth running of a livestock operation.
PRA believes the current Act provides the balance between humane control and the flexibility to implement a
range of control methodologies for the humane destruction of feral animals.
Property Rights Australia
Phone: 07 49 214 000