The Queensland State government’s Department of Justice is currently investigating reports that the Sunshine Coast zoo operated on the morning of Anzac Day this year without the required permit.
A permit is required for places of public amusement in Queensland if they wish to trade before 1.30pm (AEST) on Anzac Day.
A spokesperson for the Department of Justice said "Australia Zoo has not applied for a permit to open before 1.30pm on Anzac Day this year. The department's industrial inspectors are currently making inquiries with Australia Zoo.
"The timing of any decision in relation to this matter will depend on the outcome of discussions with Australia Zoo this week.''
The maximum penalty that the zoo faces is $20,000.
The chief executive of the RSL's Queensland branch, Chris McHugh, was scathing in his comments regarding the issue, who is quoted by Fairfax News as saying it was a display of "crass commercialism''.
"We are exceptionally disappointed in what they have done. The law is quite explicit, they have thumbed their nose at a convention which all other businesses accept.
"You have to question what they thought they would achieve by doing that.''
It must also be noted that the zoo has previously sought and been granted the required permit.
In 2008, the zoo went to great lengths to ensure the day was commemorated appropriately with local Beerwah RSL Branch members and war veterans, Alan Wilcock, Ian Kirk and their families.
The required one minute silence was observed and playing of the Last Post and Reveille by a guest trumpet player adding the all important ingredients to the solemn service.
The day was further celebrated with a morning tea shared by the Veterans and their families. Australia Zoo has donated $500 to Legacy through Beerwah RSL.
Australia Zoo today confirmed that it had in fact Observed the Anzac Day tradition in an appropriate fashion and that the lack of permit was an administrative oversight.
The Statement released today by Australia Zoo stated:
“An unfortunate administrative oversight was made in relation to Anzac Day trading hours and Australia Zoo is taking immediate and positive action towards rectifying this.”
In confirmation of the correct observation of the Anzac Day Tradition, the Media Release also stated:
“As a proud Australian business we paid tribute on this national day of remembrance with a commemorative morning service in the Zoo’s Crocoseum, attended by special guests from the Beerwah RSL Sub Branch. Patrons were up standing and acknowledged a minute’s silence as an ex-service veteran from Beerwah RSL Sub Branch read out The Ode and a bugler played the Last Post.”