Thursday, 19 October 2023

Questions without notice and ministers statements

Wildlife rescue


Wildlife rescue

Georgie PURCELL (Northern Victoria) (12:43): (319) My question is for the Minister for Environment in the other place. The severity of the Black Summer bushfires was unprecedented, destroying extensive wildlife habitat and countless animals’ lives. Wildlife rescuers were blocked from fire zones, despite undertaking the department’s own bushfire training, and by the time they were deployed it was far too late. Following this, the government undertook extensive consultation with the wildlife sector to better understand what went wrong and, critically, how to prevent it from happening again. The Wildlife Emergency app was developed as part of the bushfire response action plan, but it is unclear what action is taken after a report has been made or if any trained wildlife rescuers are affiliated with it. Can the minister advise how many animals have been reported, responded to or rescued via this system since the Wildlife Emergency app was launched?

Gayle TIERNEY (Western Victoria – Minister for Skills and TAFE, Minister for Regional Development) (12:44): I thank the member for her ongoing interest in these matters and particularly wildlife rescue. I will refer this matter to the Minister for Environment for a response.

Georgie PURCELL (Northern Victoria) (12:45): Thank you, Minister, for passing that on. On top of the app, the wildlife emergency reporting tool was also developed in response to consultation with the wildlife sector. Unlike the app, this online tool invites members of the public to call in wildlife emergencies all year round, not just during a bushfire, directing them to independent local wildlife shelters by their postcode. Wildlife shelters are entirely volunteer led. Many do not have rescue or transport capacity, and in almost all cases injured native animals require immediate veterinary treatment. As the government is encouraging Victorians to call them, can the minister advise what ongoing support is provided to independent shelters to ensure they are able to maintain this life-saving work?

Gayle TIERNEY (Western Victoria – Minister for Skills and TAFE, Minister for Regional Development) (12:45): Again I thank the member for her supplementary question, which will be put to the Minister for Environment for a response.