RSPCA takeover: AWL lose tender to operate local pound
AFTER five years serving Ipswich, the animal welfare organisation running the local pound and rehoming centre has lost the contract.
The council has awarded the job to RSPCA Queensland instead, after it tendered to do the work for less and extend opening hours to seven days a week.
RSPCA, which has similar contracts with four other Queensland councils, will take over from Animal Welfare League Queensland at the end of September.
It's a decision that surprised even the RSPCA who say they put in a "high" tender with "strict conditions".
That included a request the council consider building a brand new centre, estimated to cost about $5 million, before the end of the new three-year contract.
Since the tender was awarded last Wednesday an online petition calling on the council to reverse their decision and reinstate the AWLQ has gained more than 2000 signatures as of Thursday morning.
But Ipswich City Council says it made the best decision for both the ratepayers and the animals' welfare.
Before going to tender, the council offered to extend Animal Welfare League's contract, which they declined.
"AWLQ encouraged us to go to the open market," Cr Sheila Ireland, Health and Communities Safety portfolio holder, said.
"They said they couldn't continue under the same fees in the contract. The RSPCA came in lower and the council made a decision based on budgetary considerations.
"This certainly doesn't mean we're severing our ties with the AWLQ and we're hoping to keep working with them in the future."
Workers at the centre who want to keep working under a new organisation will have to apply for their jobs again.
RSPCA CEO Mark Townend said some of the facilities, including the cat area and the dog cages, would need to be immediately renovated to meet RSPCA standards.
He said having new, improved facilities would attract quality staff which is part of the reason his organisation requested a new building.
"We asked the council to consider building a new facility because it helps attract professionals such as vets," Mr Townend said.
"If we put workers in an older facility things tend to go backwards and we want to improve conditions."
The RSCPA will meet with Ipswich City Council on Friday to discuss the details of the new contract.
The QT asked the Animal Welfare League Queensland for comment both locally and on a corporate level.
The organisation did not offer a comment, however, on its Facebook page announced the change with "great sadness".
"We would like to personally thank all of our team and and all of you who have chosen to adopt from the Ipswich rehoming Centre over our five years of operation there," the post read.
"This will not in any way effect the operations at our other four rehoming centres."
Conflict of interest?
- Councillor Andrew Antoniolli sits on the board of RSPCA Queensland and therefore did not take part in discussions or decision making in awarding the council tender to RSPCA Queensland. Cr Antoniolli also recused himself from the same debate within the RSPCA.