Legislative Council: Thursday, March 21, 2024


Wildlife Rescue Groups

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (14:52): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the minister representing the Minister for Climate, Environment and Water a question on the mental health of wildlife rescue groups.

Leave granted.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: A recent study from the University of New England found that animal wildlife carers in Australia were at higher risk of experiencing PTSD symptoms. The university's School of Psychology released a paper in late 2023, titled 'A love-hate relationship with what I do: protecting the mental health of animal care workers'. It found that Australian wildlife carers experience severe to extremely severe symptoms of psychological distress, higher than the general population.

Co-author Nicola Paul said the expectations and responsibilities placed on carers often meant their wellbeing was put aside. Grief and a lack of organisational support emerged as a significant predictor of burnout, and nearly all factors that would boost the wellbeing of carers sat within the control of animal care organisations. Therefore, my questions to the minister are:

1. What mental health support is being offered by the Malinauskas government to our wildlife carers?

2. Will these issues be addressed in the amendments to the Animal Welfare Act that are forthcoming?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:53): I thank the honourable member for her questions. I will refer those questions to the relevant minister in another place and bring back a reply for her