Australia

Koala protection on the agenda as environmental experts meet in Canberra

An injured Koala is seen at a forest near Cape Borda on Kangaroo Island, southwest of Adelaide, Tuesday, January 7, 2020. Source: AAP

Meetings will be held in Canberra on Wednesday examining issues from wildlife protection to financial counselling, in the wake of the bushfire crisis.

Protecting koalas and other species in the wake of devastating bushfires will be on the agenda when environmental experts meet in Canberra on Wednesday.

Graphic footage of koalas caught up in blazes across the country has been aired around the world, with millions of dollars pledged to help protect them.

Environment Minister Sussan Ley will meet with Australia's threatened species commissioner Dr Sally Box and other experts following the announcement of a $50 million program to support environmental groups and intervene to save wildlife.

The minister will also host a roundtable with national environmental organisations.

It's believed more than one billion animals have perished in the fires.

Part of the $50 million Emergency Wildlife and Habitat Recovery Package has gone to Sydney's internationally renowned Taronga Zoo, as well as Zoos South Australia and Zoos Victoria for the treatment of injured animals and the establishment of "insurance populations".

The meetings are part of a strategy by Prime Minister Scott Morrison to get the best advice from experts on a range of topics to inform the government's bushfire response.

Veterinarian Angela Scott treats a koala for bushfire burns at the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park on 8 January, 2020.
Veterinarian Angela Scott treats a koala for bushfire burns at the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park on 8 January, 2020.
Getty

Science Minister Karen Andrews will meet in Canberra with representatives from the CSIRO, the Academy of Science and bushfire researchers to discuss ways to address bushfires through science and technology.

Education Minister Dan Tehan will meet with education sector representatives to hear first-hand how the bushfires have impacted and how the government can help.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will hear from financial counsellors on the needs of farmers, business owners and families and what more needs to be done to respond.

On Thursday, farming representatives will come to Canberra to discuss the recovery of the agriculture sector, which has been thrown a $100 million lifeline in the form of grants of up to $75,000 to rebuild fences and replace equipment.

Meetings to discuss tourism and bushfire relief will be held on Friday.

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