'No respect': Carer calls for better support for volunteers
VOLUNTEER wildlife carers should be better supported by the government.
This is according to carer Simon Stretton who has committed to feeds every four hours for newest resident Shelly, the black-striped wallaby joey.
Rescue animals like Shelly, or injured animals, need 24-7 care from volunteers like the Durong Dingo Sanctuary owner.
Mr Stretton said he would like to see a change in support.
"I would like to see the government subsidise wildlife carers because these animals belong to the government," he said.
"In Australia there is no dollar value respect on wildlife. Overseas there is, they will build massive earth bridges over highways so animals can go across there."
Mr Stretton said wildlife carers would get up at all hours of the night to care for the animals.
"I'd really wish the government would be more respectful or mindful of what we do and even if they helped you with buying the feed," he said.
The wildlife carer said buying powdered milk was not cheap, especially if it was for a few joeys.
"They could set up grants where all wildlife carer volunteers that are registered can go there and get stuff," Mr Stretton said.
A Department of Environment and Science representative said rehabilitating native wildlife could be rewarding.
"However, it is time consuming and can be very expensive," they said.
The department advised anyone considering the volunteer role to consider the commitment.
"Caring for native wildlife takes a lot of experience," they said.
"Native animals have special dietary requirements, need frequent veterinary care and a strong commitment to rehabilitating the wildlife by the carer."
The department states volunteer wildlife care associations provide non-financial support to members, including advice about wildlife care and provide a valuable opportunity to talk to others interested in the role.
Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington said wildlife carer volunteers were extremely dedicated.
"Wildlife carers play a vitally important role in regional and rural communities," she said.
"Many animals are hit crossing busy highways and wildlife carers help them to survive."
According to the 2016 ABS Census, almost one fifth of Queenslanders worked as volunteers.
"Volunteering is worth billions to the Queensland economy and I am thankful for the local volunteers who work tirelessly long hours in the Nanango community," Ms Frecklington said.
She said volunteers were the fabric of the bush community.
"Anyone who walks into their local charity store or library can easily spot the smiling volunteers," Ms Frecklington said.
"Without our local volunteers, many of the services we rely on wouldn't exist, like our rural fire brigades, country race days, SES emergency workers and meals on wheels to name a few."