Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced grants for wildlife carers inundated with victims of bushfires and the drought.
The Premier said in addition to $6 million already earmarked for wildlife hospitals a further $250,000 will be provided to groups including more than 770 community-based volunteer wildlife carers and care groups.
“We have all been devastated by the human impact of these disasters,” the Premier said.
“But there is also the significant impact on wildlife.”
The Palaszczuk government was working closely with the Queensland Wildlife Rehabilitation Council (QWRC) and the South East Queensland Wildlife Hospital Network to get their expert advice.
“As a result, these funds will go directly to where they are needed most,” the Premier said.
Of the $250,000, $120,000 will be divided up evenly between the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital, RSPCA Wildlife Hospital and Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital to help cover the costs of caring for animals being brought in for treatment.
The remaining funding, $130,000, will be provided to individual carers and wildlife care groups.
Eligible individual carers who do this selfless work on behalf of all Queenslanders can apply for a grant of up to $2,000 and eligible care groups can apply for a grant of up to $5,000.
The round will open 29 January 2020 with grants provided in an ongoing basis until all funding is allocated, so interested applicants should apply early when the round opens.
Minister for Environment Leeanne Enoch said, “With 67.4% of Queensland still drought declared and to date around 2.5 million hectares impacted by the recent bushfires, the demand on wildlife hospitals and carers has increased.”
The RSPCA, for instance has reported three times the intake of injured and displaced Koalas and double the number of total injured animals over 2019.
“Today’s announcement means further support for the purchase of vital equipment and supplies for the rescue and care of sick and injured wildlife,” the Minister said.
“Valuable medical supplies, including saline solution and pain relief, feed formula for sick and injured animals, and fuel for the carers who often use their own vehicles to transport these animals to and from wildlife hospitals are all supported by this grant.”
Minister Enoch added that the Palaszczuk Government is responding to the impacts of fire and drought on the state’s wildlife, but further assistance from the Federal Government was vital.
“I call on the Federal Government to join Queensland in acknowledging the hard work and sacrifice of our wildlife carers and commit to providing further funding to these volunteers and for our wildlife hospitals that are managing increased demand.”
RSPCA state wildlife coordinator Lee Pirini thanked the Palaszczuk government for its commitment to wildlife.
“It will enable carers and facilities to continue their vital work to rescue, rehabilitate and release our unique animals,” Lee said.
“This season the injured native animals has increased to over 25,000 admissions compared to 8,000 in 2012”
Volunteer wildlife carer Madonna O’Brien said the money will go where it is needed most.
“It is heartbreaking to have so many native animals impacted by natural disasters like bushfires and prolonged drought,” she said.
“I love caring for them and this funding is vital for wildlife carers to purchase food and medication to help get our sick and injured wildlife back into the bush.”
Grant program guidelines and the application form will be published on the Department of Environment and Science’s website on 29 January 2020 at https://www.qld.gov.au/environment/pollution/funding/community-sustainability