April 2020

Tasmania’s zoos and wildlife parks will receive a much needed funding lifeline, with the Morrison Government today unveiling a $94.6 million support package to help zoos and wildlife parks across Australia to get through the COVID-19 crisis.

This funding will assist eight exhibiting zoos and wildlife parks across Tasmania with the fixed operational costs associated with the caring of their animals, while also helping to ensure they can remain viable and ready to welcome visitors when restrictions are eased.

The Assistant Minister for Regional Tourism Jonno Duniam said the funding was critical to Tasmanian zoos and wildlife parks, with many located in the state’s regional areas.

“Tasmania’s zoos and wildlife parks offer an experience that locals and visitors love, from having the chance to see our iconic Tasmanian devils, to feeding a kangaroo – these are the experiences that stay with visitors for a lifetime,” Assistant Minister Duniam said.

“Every year, around 160,000 travellers pay a visit to wildlife in Tasmanian wildlife parks or zoos, with many of these experiences drawing visitors out into our regions.

“But these experiences come at a significant cost operators, with the cost of feeding the animals totalling many thousands of dollars alone. This assistance will help Tasmanian zoos and wildlife parks to feed, care and house the animals through these challenging times.”

Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said the initiative would provide vital assistance for Tasmania’s exhibiting zoos and wildlife parks that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This will be a lifeline for these popular tourism attractions across Tasmania that have had many of their revenue streams dry up during this crisis,” Minister Birmingham said.

“It’s absolutely crucial Tasmania’s zoos and wildlife parks can still operate on the other side and play a major role in helping the state’s tourism industry to recover from this.

“We also shouldn’t underestimate the huge positive flow-on effects the state’s zoos and wildlife parks provide to the local economy. They bring thousands of visitors into communities who then spend millions of dollars visiting other attractions, sleeping in local hotels and dining in local restaurants.”

Eligible exhibiting zoos and wildlife parks will have access to a grant that contributes towards up to six months of its animal welfare operating costs. This includes animal feed, enclosure, health and other specialised care expenses, and utilities directly related to the housing and caring for animals.

In addition to this support to help with operational costs, zoos and wildlife parks that meet the criteria will be able to apply for the JobKeeper program to assist with staffing costs.

Austrade will work with the Zoo and Aquarium Association to identify eligible members, as well as state and territory tourism organisations to identify non-members which may be eligible for financial assistance.

The eligible Tasmanian parks include Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, East Coast Natureworld, Devils@Cradle, Tasmania Zoo, Tasmanian Devil Unzoo, Trowunna Wildlife Sanctuary, Wings Wildlife Park and Zoodoo Zoo.

This initiative is part of the Government’s $1 billion Relief and Recovery Fund to support regions, communities and industry sectors that have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.