The Australian government will spend $150 million ($US95 million) to accelerate wildlife recovery after the bushfires devastated communities earlier this summer.
The funding is part of the newly announced $650 million ($US425 million) bushfire recovery package announced on May 11. It will support the bushfire affected communities, that have just recently battled droughts, floods, and now, COVID-19.
Communities and organisations will be able to access the grants from July 1. They can use it towards rebuilding animal habitats and nurturing native wildlife back to health.
In addition to protecting native species from immediate devastation, it will also support efforts to restore waterways and catchments by controlling erosion and managing weeds and pests.
The bushfires burned more than 2.7 million hectares of Australia’s national parks (pdf). A government analysis found that the bushfires left 470 plants and 200 animals in dire straits. The full magnitude of the impact is yet to be determined.
The $650 million bushfire recovery grant also includes supporting local recovery plans and projects, boosting community wellbeing, assisting forestry industries, and strengthening telecommunications capabilities.
Earlier on April 28, the Morrison government announced funding of $95 million ($US62 million) to keep zoos and aquariums afloat.
“It’s just not acceptable in a country like Australia for us to leave the animals in our zoos or aquariums without food, without veterinary support, without the type of care that Australia would expect them to receive,” Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham said.
He said this is also important for our tourism industry.
“So often zoos and aquariums form the central core as an attraction of a tourism ecosystem in a region,” Birmingham said.
Terry Irwin, the owner of Australia Zoo, told 9News that this was a lifeline.
“We were looking at really being out at the end of May so having this funding sent in potentially mid-May it’s just like the Federal Government has ridden in with the cavalry to save the day,” she said.