Local MP Justine Elliot recently announced that an Albanese Labor Government will invest $1 million to build the new animal pound and rehoming centre at Lundberg Drive, South Murwillumbah.
‘A new animal pound and rehoming centre has been desperately needed in our community since the old pound closed at Stotts Creek Tip in September 2019,’ said Mrs Elliot. ‘Many local residents and community groups have contacted me about this issue. As your local MP, I have listened and acted.
Mrs Elliot says that in addition to 16 dog pens and 11 cat cages, the brand-new facility will include a ‘Friends of the Pound’ shelter with up to 28 dog and cat pens, two stables and paddocks for farm animals.
‘I would like to acknowledge Friends of the Pound, the not-for-profit animal rescue charity, that works closely with Council and the community to ensure all these animals are cared for and rehomed.
‘I congratulate Tweed Shire Council on the design and commitment to this new facility and I am pleased that an Albanese Labor Government will deliver $1 million to contribute to this important project.
Animal Liberation is delighted by the investment
Animal Liberation’s Regional Campaigns Manager, Lisa Ryan, says that the group is always delighted to see public money invested into meaningful and progressive animal welfare outcomes, including towards the construction of publicly owned infrastructure such as state-of-the-art animal impounding facilities.
‘Like many, we were taken by surprise by the announcement by federal member for Richmond, Justine Elliot, and the promise from an elected Albanese Labor government to commit $1 million dollars of public money towards the proposed new Tweed Shire Council (TSC) animal pound and rehoming centre.’
‘Sadly, while Ms Elliot and Mr Albanese are prepared to commit $1 million dollars towards TSC homeless dogs and cats, they continue to ignore the plight of other homeless impounded animals including NSW greyhounds forced to race for gambling profits. The most recent NSW greyhound racing track death occurred at Casino, taking the current NSW 2021 track death rate to 51 and injuries to 2389; and yet the Labor government continues to support this animal suffering, exploitation and abhorrent injury and death rates.’
TSC not a struggling NSW council
‘TSC certainly can’t be deemed a struggling NSW council like many other rural and regional councils which operate non-compliant impounding facilities where animal suffering is extreme. Only weeks ago, Bourke Shire Council was exposed for shooting homeless dogs and newborn puppies, and we know Bourke council pound doesn’t have an exercise yard and is therefore in breach of state legislation.’
‘Imagine if the federal Labor opposition promised $1 million to Bourke council or the money was divided up between other non-compliant NSW council pounds, and all the animal welfare improvements this would make to so many homeless animals.
‘Better still, imagine if Mrs Elliot and Mr Albanese demonstrated a genuinely strong interest in NSW pound and shelter reform and were prepared to step up to address the festering issues impacting the thousands of homeless animals who have for decades been failed by the NSW State Government and successive ministers.’
It’s local, it’s state – it’s federal?
Ms Ryan said that it’s really quite bizarre given NSW Local Government councils fall under State Government responsibility and yet, there is a federal opposition party commitment which would benefit the seat of Richmond, months away from the anticipated federal election and a funding where a 5-point swing could make all the difference.’
‘Equally surprising is Mrs Elliot’s claim that the $1 million contribution will be the final amount of funding required, when the actual plans and development application haven’t been made public as yet, and as far as we know, the budget allocation hasn’t been finalised, and the proposed development includes other council infrastructure in addition to a pound and rehoming centre.’
‘It’s ironic that the backdrop to the Albanese Labor opposition $1 million dollar commitment, is the NSW ICAC inquiry, which in part will explore the use, or potential misuse of public money for political gain.
‘We need to objectively question whether the proposed federal Labor promise is merely a case of homeless Tweed animals being used as porns for selective political advantage ahead of the pending federal election.
NSW urgently needs state-wide pound and shelter reform
‘Likewise, is the Albanese opposition genuinely prepared to support and fund urgently needed state-wide NSW pound and shelter reform and the rescue and rehoming of all homeless animals, including greyhounds cast aside as “wastage” by the NSW greyhound racing industry?’
Justine Elliot has responded to the Animal Liberation remarks saying she has a strong personal commitment to animal welfare and support. ‘I am very proud of the fact that an elected Albanese Labor Government will commit $1 million towards the new animal pound and rehoming centre in Murwillumbah. This facility is long overdue and has broad support across our community.
Elliot: I don’t support greyhound racing
‘I personally don’t support activities that harm or put animals’ well-being at risk, including greyhound racing. I understand that Tweed MP Geoff Provest and his NSW Liberal-Nationals Government have plans to build a greyhound racetrack in the Tweed Shire and as such, I urge all community members that share my love and support for animal welfare to raise this matter directly with Geoff Provest and his government,’ said Mrs Elliot.