(Western Victoria) (12:23): My question is to the minister representing the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. The current CEO of Animal Liberation and longstanding advocate for animal rights, Lynda Stoner, recently contacted me with grave concerns regarding animal cruelty in Victoria. There has been much confusion about which government departments prosecute people who have committed horrific injuries against animals. According to a 2019 report from the Sentencing Advisory Council: … an agreement was made between RSPCA Victoria and Victoria Police to place a dedicated animal cruelty inspector within the Police Prosecutions Unit of Victoria Police; however, this has not eventuated. My question to the minister is: has this planned dedicated unit eventuated to date, and if not, why not?

Mr GRIMLEY (Western Victoria) (12:24): Thank you, Minister. My supplementary question is: as a party with strong values in preventing domestic and family violence, it will come as no surprise that Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party is very interested in the direct correlation between the harm some offenders have inflicted on animals and the later more serious harm against humans. In cases where humans hurt animals the RSPCA predominately deals with prosecutions, whereas in cases of humans hurting other humans VicPol prosecutes. My concern is that there may be a lack of information sharing between the two prosecuting bodies, where intelligence could be useful in identifying high-risk offenders that might hurt other humans. Given harming or neglecting animals can in some cases be a red flag for harm to other people, what is the extent of involvement by Victoria Police in such animal cruelty cases?