October 24, 2013
NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, today said extra staff from the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and Livestock Health and Pest Authorities have been deployed to help stock and companion animal owners in areas currently affected by bushfires.
Ms Hodgkinson said these employees are currently on hand at a number of evacuation centres across the fire zones to assist with the relocation of both livestock and companion animals.
“DPI, as the Agriculture and Animal Services Functional Area (AASFA), continues to support Rural Fire Service (RFS) operations in the Sydney, Blue Mountains, Hunter Valley, Central Coast, Illawarra and Southern Highlands areas,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
“Staff are assisting in a number of Emergency Operation Centres, evacuation centres and are continuing field assessments/emergency support in fire-affected areas.
“Staff from the State Coordination Centre at NSW DPI head office in Orange have been tasked to supply staff to the Lithgow and Richmond evacuation centres to assist evacuees from the Bells Line of Road and arrange accommodation for livestock, horses and companion animals.
“In particular, in the Richmond area, arrangements are in place that large animals, like horses and livestock, can be taken directly to Hawkesbury Showground.
“Companion animals will be placed at a range of accommodation sites once their owners register at the North Richmond evacuation centre.”
Ms Hodgkinson said arrangements are in place for the care of all animals arriving at any evacuation centre.
“The AASFA has engaged a number of supporting specialist animal agencies to carry out the care and assessment of animals in all fire-affected communities,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
“These include the RSPCA, WIRES, Animal Welfare League and Heavy Horse Heaven. These specialists have been providing care to horses and wildlife in a number of areas.
“Staff have also made contact with landholders and stock owners on the Bells Line of Road to ensure they are ready and able to assist their animals for the coming fire conditions.
“Preparations and support agencies to assist animals are in place for the coming days amid predictions of worsening conditions.”
For more information on evacuation centres and relocating livestock and companion animals call the RFS hotline on 1800 679 737 FREE and visit www.rfs.nsw.gov.au for up-to-date information on fires in NSW.