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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    JOINT STATEMENT
    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk
    Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef
    The Honourable Steven Miles

    New operators for cassowary rehabilitation centre for Far North Queensland at Mission Beach facility

    JOINT STATEMENT

    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

    Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef
    The Honourable Steven Miles

    Wednesday, March 23, 2016

    New operators for cassowary rehabilitation centre for Far North Queensland at Mission Beach facility

    The future operation of Garners Beach Cassowary Rehabilitation Centre at Mission Beach has been secured and a second centre is proposed for the Atherton Tableland.

    Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection had signed a collaborative agreement with not-for-profit North Queensland group Rainforest Reserves Australia.

    “The Cassowary is an icon in Far North Queensland and it’s important there is help for sick, or injured birds or chicks left without their parents,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

    “We stepped in to help the previous organisation last year with some temporary funding and (Environment Minister) Steven Miles has been working hard to find a more permanent solution.

    “I’m delighted that Rainforest Reserves Australia has agreed to manage the day-to-day operations of the Government’s Garners Beach facility for the next three years.

    “Cassowaries play an essential ecological role in maintaining the biodiversity of our tropical rainforests by dispersing the seeds of forest plants, and it is important that we place rehabilitated birds back into areas where they can continue to do that.”

    Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles said EHP would continue to be the initial contact point for members of the public reporting cassowaries in need and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service would also help as required.

    “EHP has specially trained wildlife officers who are ready to provide first responses to reports of cassowary incidents,” Dr Miles said.

    “They’ll be able to assess birds in the field, sedate them as necessary, and to take them to Garners Beach using its purpose-built transport boxes.

    “EHP will also continue to access the services of local veterinarians where needed, depending on the bird’s location and condition.

    “The responsibility for transporting and releasing cassowaries back into the wild once they are fully recovered will stay with EHP,’ he said.

    Dr Miles said Rainforest Reserves Australia was appointed following an Expression of Interest selection process.

    “I welcome the agreement and thank the other proponents for also expressing their interest,’’ he said.

    Rainforest Reserves Australia CEO Carolyn Emms said the conservation group shared the Queensland Government’s commitment to the continued enhancement of cassowary rehabilitation services in Tropical North Queensland.

    “We are based in North Queensland. We live up here and we have an interest in the conservation of cassowaries,’’ Mrs Emms said. “This is a big issue and it is our passion to grow the cassowaries’ habitat’.

    As part of the agreement, Rainforest Reserves Australia will work to establish a second cassowary rehabilitation facility at Lake Barrine on the Atherton Tablelands.

    “The expressed intention of both EHP and Rainforest Reserves Australia is to have the Atherton Tablelands Cassowary Rehabilitation Centre ready to accept cassowaries for care and rehabilitation this year,’’ Mrs Emms said.

    “This is great news for cassowary conservation in the wet tropics region and Rainforest Reserves Australia is looking forward to collaborating with the Queensland Government to support the operation of that facility too.”

    EHP initiated the EOI process after the organisation managing the Garners Beach facility announced at short notice in July 2015 that it could longer continue to fund the operation of the centre.

    Since then EHP has allocated $80,000 so that the centre could continue operation and to make substantial infrastructure improvements.

    “These improvements have meant that the centre can now accept and care for adult cassowaries while providing a safe environment for staff and volunteers working at the centre,” Dr Miles said.

    Dr Miles said community-based groups would also have an important role in supplying voluntary services such as collecting rainforest seeds and fruit to feed recovering cassowaries.

    Sick, injured and orphaned cassowaries should be reported to EHP on 1300 130 372.

    More information on cassowaries is available at www.ehp.qld.gov.au/wildlife/threatened-species/endangered/endangered-animals/cassowary.html