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Byron Shire
May 22, 2024

Wildlife Hospital proposal follows up on Nationals’ promises

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Dr Evan Kosack from the Lennox Heads Veterinary Clinic with a rescued echidna. Photo supplied.

During the NSW state election the Nationals candidate for the seat of Lismore Austin Curtin promised $100,000 from a re-elected Liberal National Party (LNP) government in support of the development of a Northern Rivers Wildlife Hospital (NRWH).

‘We haven’t seen the cheque yet but we are hopeful and optimistic,’ Tony Gilding, who is a member of the NRWH board and owner of Macadamia Castle, told Echonetdaily.

‘$100,000 was promised by Austin Curtin during the state election for the development of the NRWH.’

Mr Gilding said that retired member for the seat of Lismore, Thomas George, was also following up on the promise as he was a strong supporter of the project.

‘Janelle Saffin who recently won the seat of Lismore is also following up on the promise,’ he said.


An information/fundraiser night for the proposed Northern Rivers Wildlife Hospital (NRWH) on May 1 drew around 150 people and a $65,000 pledge to kickstart the project.

Held at Ballina’s 7 Mile Brewery, the night also saw the announcement of a partnership between the Northern Rivers Community Foundation (NRCF) and the Northern Rivers Wildlife Hospital Ltd to establish an ‘infrastructure sub-fund’ for the hospital build.

An infrastructure fund is a relatively new concept in community philanthropy in Australia.

Mum Tania Tsang (centre) with twins Amber and Ebony at the info/fundraiser night. The girls designed the prototype of the echidna used in the logo, and Kirsten Ackland created the final logo. Photo Peter Frare.

Guests were welcomed on the night by ‘fauna fetchers’ Bridget and Sophie Thomson with a selection of local wildlife (snakes and lizards) and heard from a variety of speakers including NRWH board members Ninian Gemmell, Tony Gilding, and Lennox Head vet and vet committee adviser Dr Evan Kosack.

NRWH is in the process of registering with ACNC and seeking deductible-gift-recipient status with the ATO.

Newly re-elected member for the NSW seat of Ballina Tamara Smith (Greens) attended, as well as local wildlife care groups and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) Oceania Wildlife Campaigner Josey Sharrad. IFAW is providing funding for a business plan that will be an integral component of NRWH’s push to obtain further government funding.

The Northern Rivers is one of the most biodiversity-rich area in Australia, but habitat destruction and environmental degradation are leaving local wildlife susceptible to trauma, cat and dog attacks, and injury from motor vehicles.

Local vet practices cannot cope with wildlife cases and often do not have the appropriate expertise.

Travel to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital, over an hour away, is too stressful for injured animals.


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  1. Won’t need animal hospitals when all our native species have gone extinct, will we. Won’t need hospitals when homo sapiens has gone extinct either.
    Never ceases to amaze me how gullible people are so easily bought off (with their own tax money!) by unscrupulous, criminal governments. What a joke.


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