Delays to $94.6m ‘lifeline’ for zoos
IT WAS dubbed a "lifeline" for some of the Coast's biggest tourism attractions in April, but businesses are yet to see a cent of the $94.6 million zoos and aquariums support package.
The Federal Government announced the funding injection with the intention of helping zoos and aquariums while they were forced to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At a press conference at Australia Zoo to announce the funding, Fisher MP Andrew Wallace said it would be distributed in May and would help cover the "significant" operating costs while facilities remained closed.
Wildlife HQ Zoo, Australia Zoo and Sealife are expected to receive just under a million dollars each, but the funds are yet to be handed out. All three facilities reopened earlier this month.
"We planned for the worst case scenario to get through while we were closed and while we would've liked the funding months ago, it'll still get put to good use," Wildlife HQ Zoo CEO Jarrod Schenk said.
It meant the business had to keep up with operating costs of about $15,000 a week without the government support. Mr Schenk said they expected to receive the funding by the end of the week and it would be used to pay for rent, electricity and other operational costs.
Mr Wallace, whose electorate includes Australia Zoo, said applications were being assessed in the order they were submitted.
"Some applications, including those for some of the large zoos and aquariums on the Sunshine Coast, are more complicated than others," he said.
He said applications for eligible Sunshine Coast zoos had progressed and expected for funding to be released "very soon".