The recent bushfires that swept Australia may have highlighted issues within wildlife rescue systems – but the issues were far from new, Andy Meddick of the Animal Justice Party says.
During the bushfires, rescuers and carers, vets and darters, all stood by, waiting to be called in to help.
People with years, decades of experience and many with fireground training.
But Andy says the volunteers were left out of the rescue effort.
“The world was watching as an army of experienced and professional volunteers were ready to be mobilised, but they were not utilised, and as a result, thousands of wildlife that could have been saved were left to die,” he says.
“For decades, the systems responsible for response and rescue, care, rehabilitation and release of wildlife has been broken.
“Yet even in the face of never-ending obstacles, wildlife rescue and care volunteers continue to work relentlessly around the clock, doing everything they can to assist wildlife in need.”
In June, Andy introduced a private member’s bill to establish a new authority named Wildlife Rescue Victoria.
The bill resulted in the Victorian government committing to fixing Victoria’s “broken wildlife response”.
“For many months I worked alongside experienced wildlife rescuers and carers on a proposal which outlined a centralised response to wildlife management in Victoria,” Andy says.
“Together, we are now working on support for Victorian wildlife and their vets, rescuers and carers.
“I am proposing a model that depicts a professional volunteer authority, similar to the highly successful SES and CFA frameworks, as well as funding for adequate mental health support and training for our dedicated volunteers.
“This is the first step of a long road ahead, and I will ensure our native animals and the volunteers who dedicate so much time to care for them have their voices heard and lead the change.”
Community consultation will begin soon, and Andy looks forward to working alongside wildlife organisations and volunteers to ensure our wildlife is protected and receiving the care they desperately need, especially in emergency situations.
Authorised by: A Meddick 69a Gheringhap Street, Geelong.
Funded from Parliamentary Budget