Australia to start free zoo membership program in 2019

The Australian Government is set to introduce a new membership program for the nation’s animal parks in 2019, with a $300,000 grant to help pay for the first year.

The announcement came on Tuesday at a news conference at the National Parks Foundation’s (NPF) headquarters in Canberra.

It is part of the Government’s commitment to fund an additional $300 million in animal parks over the next five years, which will support the continued expansion of the nations largest zoo, and to invest in animal care, research and development.

The funding, which the Government said will be announced in the coming weeks, will be awarded to local authorities to ensure the park system has sufficient resources to continue operating.

The Government says the new program will help local authorities “create the best animal park experience possible for visitors”.

The announcement follows a $500 million injection into the parks system last year.

In a separate announcement on Tuesday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he had announced an additional 100,000 new jobs in the parks industry.

“The Prime Minister announced today a new $1 billion commitment to the parks and wildlife sector over the coming years, including more than 100,00 new jobs, which are critical to the health and welfare of our animals,” Mr Turnbull said.

The Prime Ministers announcement came just days after the NPF announced it had received a $150 million grant from the Commonwealth for the next two years.

The grant will fund the establishment of a new zoo in Canberra, the creation of a sanctuary at the Royal Botanic Gardens, and the establishment and expansion of a zoo-based research centre at the Wodonga National Park.

It will also provide funding for the establishment, management and expansion and training of an animal care program.

“This funding is a major contribution to the ongoing economic and social success of the National Park System and will see the park continue to provide great facilities and experiences for our community, and our visitors, for generations to come,” Mr Turner said.