Nardella welcomes children’s Zoo access funding

The Member for Member for Melton Don Nardella MLA has welcomed Premier Daniel Andrews and minister for Environment, Lisa Neville’s, joint announcement that funding will be provided to ensure more Victorian families can have a fun and affordable day out at Melbourne Zoo.

Mr Andrews announced:

That the upcoming 2015-16 State Budget will provide $5.8 million to ensure visits by children aged under 16 remain free on weekends, public holidays, and State School holidays.

Victorian families love their zoos, and the visitation numbers prove it: in the past 12 months over 2.1 million people have enjoyed visits to Melbourne Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary, and Werribee Open Range Zoo.

Children under the age of 16 make up a large proportion of those visitors, with over 800,000 kids visiting Zoos Victoria’s three zoos in the past 12 months.

The Labor Government has also provided $9 million for a state of the art facility for the Zoo’s Big Cats, designed and built to the same exciting standard recently achieved in the newest exhibit, Lion Gorge, launched in December.

The outdated Big Cat Row will be removed, and Snow Leopards, Sumatran Tigers, other Big Cats and additional species will be in a new setting, providing visitors with improved viewing and meeting animal welfare standards.

There will be areas for Keepers to give talks about the animals and the conservation messages linked to the different species.

The new development is scheduled to open in December 2017 in time to celebrate the Zoo’s 155th birthday year.

Premier Daniel Andrews said:

We want to make sure Victorian families can afford to spend a day of fun at the zoo.

Whether you’re a kid or a parent – everyone loves the zoo. We’re ensuring families can admire the animals and spend some quality time together.

Minister for Environment, Lisa Neville:

Free entry for children has boosted visitor numbers at our much loved zoos – and new attractions such as Predator Prey Precinct will make them an even better place for families to spend the day.

By investing in infrastructure and tourist attractions at our zoos and in our parks, we’re supporting jobs and growth across Victoria.