I know political promises are cheap a couple of weeks out from an election, but what a breath of fresh air to have a NSW political party acknowledge the work of voluntary wildlife carers and to recognise that government has a fiscal responsibility in meeting some of the costs of voluntary wildlife rehabilitation.
The northern rivers is well-served by wildlife carers, from specialist groups like Friends of the Koala and Australian Seabird Rescue, to Northern Rivers Wildlife Carers and Tweed Valley Wildlife Carers and the Northern Rivers and Clarence Valley branches of WIRES.
The state government’s contribution to wildlife care amounts to a small discretionary amount available for annual application by the six groups from the budget of the regional office of NPWS, and insurances coverage through the NSW Wildlife Council.
Wildlife care groups are funded by their own fundraising efforts, donations, sponsorships and competitive, project grants.
Active members typically absorb a lot of costs, including phone and fuel, associated with rescuing and with providing home-care facilities including the food required by their charges.
‘The unsung heroes of animal protection in the state’ is how Labor’s Plan for Our Environment describes voluntary wildlife carers. Local veterinarians also deserve acknowledgement because all wildlife groups require veterinary support and some local practices provide it completely free or at minimal cost.
Should Labor be elected on Saturday it has promised to:
- Ensure the efforts of voluntary wildlife care and rehabilitation providers are acknowledged and incorporated into the species recovery efforts of the NPWS through a formal relationship with the NSW Wildlife Council, and
- Support the work of voluntary wildlife care and rehabilitation providers with funding of $4million over four years to assist them in the work.
Regardless of the election outcome, we volunteers and the critters we care for thank Labor and especially leader Luke Foley for his interest in our animal welfare and conservation work.
Lorraine Vass, president Friends of the Koala
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