The need for the establishment of a representative body for wildlife rehabilitation in Queensland was identified within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “Wildlife Review Discussion Paper” October 2002 after the associated public consultation meetings across the state, canvassing a review of the wildlife component of the Nature Conservation Regulation 1994. The establishment of an association to amalgamate wildlife rehabilitation interests under an over-arching yet inclusive body was strongly sought by wildlife rehabilitators and government alike.
A steering committee was established, from nominations received from wildlife care groups across the State, relevant peak wildlife conservation and welfare organisations and relevant government departments, to progress the establishment of a statewide wildlife rehabilitation association. The committee met monthly from May 2003. The steering committee comprised of 9 (nine) nominated members of wildlife care associations and 1 representative each from Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland (WPSQ), Royal Society for the prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) , Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (DPI &F) and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) and an independent Chair. This steering committee became the Queensland Wildlife Rehabilitation Council (QWRC – pronounced Quirk) in August 2004 and received Incorporation under the Associations Incorporations Act 1981 in October 2004 as a not for profit organization.
QWRC is the peak representative organisation for the wildlife rehabilitation industry in Queensland and provides a collective voice for its members. Its focus is on ensuring excellent welfare for native animals during and post rehabilitation to achieve, compliment and advance conservation benefits and outcomes.
The council consists of up to 15 members who each hold one vote. Eleven of those members are carers from across the State with the other four seats being held by representatives from the government departments if they wish involvement.
The primary function of elected councillors is to represent wildlife rehabilitation permit holders and to provide sound advice and direction to all parties in accordance with the QWRC mission statement. Councillors are elected from eleven districts across Queensland to ensure the widest possible representation in the state.
QWRC aims to improve wildlife rehabilitation in Queensland by providing proactive advice to all stakeholders on wildlife rehabilitation strategies and programs, liaising with all groups in developing standards and guidelines for the care of wildlife. It provides the industry with recommendations and information relating to wildlife care and advance and promotes effective monitoring programs for all aspects of the industry and its operations. Additionally, it considers relevant matters such as good practice, training, ethics, national and international trends, practicalities, public opinion, welfare, scientific knowledge and the economic implications for those concerned.
QWRC also provides advice on any wildlife rehabilitation matter referred to it by the governments departments and assists in the revision of relevant legislation. Where appropriate it provides advice on submissions concerning wildlife rehabilitation received from wildlife rehabilitation organisations and agencies, industry or individuals. QWRC liaises and promote networking with all stakeholders particularly registered wildlife care groups, individual permit holders, and all levels of government establishing working groups and seeking wider consultation to help it carry out its functions.
QWRC promotes co-operation in the conduct of all business activities relating to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of wildlife. It also promotes honesty, integrity, compassion and commitment realising that an individual’s conduct reflects on the entire field of wildlife rehabilitation.
QWRC works to advance and promote community awareness, interest and support for native wildlife welfare and conservation while seeking to ensure all licensed carers in Queensland are adequately insured.