Wildlife fund digs deep for fire appeal

Australia:  Wildlife fund digs deep for fire appeal 

21 January 2002

Source and Copyright: The Sydney Morning Herald

By Freya Petersen and AAP 
A global wildlife fund has joined the list of donors helping the victims of the NSW bushfires.The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) said yesterday it would match $40,000 in NSW Government funding to help injured wildlife. The sum will be distributed to four local wildlife protection agencies to provide food drops, medication and temporary shelter for animals, and to pay for administration and volunteers’ expenses. The Wildlife Information and Rescue Service (WIRES) will receive $15,000, Sydney Metropolitan Wildlife $10,000, the Native Animal Network Association $7500, and the Australian Wildlife Ambulance Rescue Emergency $7500. IFAW’s Asia Pacific director, Mick McIntyre, said the money came from the group’s emergency relief fund, which is itself funded by donations. “The bushfires were such a tragedy for our animal population that it suited our emergency relief fund perfectly,” he said.The news was gratefully received by WIRES, which faced closure late last year due to a lack of funding. Last week computer giant Microsoft pledged $20,000 to the service. “It’s pleasing to see a global organisation recognise the trauma Australia has gone through in the last month with the bushfires,” the service’s chief executive, Carol MacDougall, said.Meanwhile, the first of the promised $10,000 State Government grants to individual households throughout NSW affected by fires has been distributed. The NSW Community Services Minister, Faye Lo Po’, announced at the weekend that the grants had been distributed to 46 households throughout the Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury, Warragamba, Shoalhaven and Helensburgh areas. “These were households immediately deemed eligible for the grant because they had lost their primary place of residence or their homes were uninhabitable,” she said. “The grants, made possible through the generosity of public donations, will make an enormous difference.” Several other bushfire appeals have raised substantial amounts of money in the past week. The Nine Network raised more than $1 million, while the Chinese Community Bushfire Appeal collected almost $110,000. The Local Government and Shires Associations of NSW has said it would waive development application fees for uninsured residential applications in the 27 fire-affected council areas. On Friday the Premier, Bob Carr, called on the Federal Government to consider compensating
firefighters who suffered financially while battling the bushfires. A spokesman for Mr Carr said yesterday that the Premier, in a letter to the Prime Minister’s Sydney office, suggested that the Commonwealth provide one-off ex gratia payments to those volunteer firefighters who could prove they lost wages during the emergency. In the letter, Mr Carr referred to relief payments made to volunteers in the 1993-94 New Year bush fire emergency as a result of changed provisions in the Natural Disaster Relief Fund. The spokesman said he expected a response from the Prime Minister, John Howard, as early astoday.


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