Former Australia Zoo staff, sacked in the wake of the Queensland floods last month, say the zoo appears to be on the brink of financial ruin.
The former staffers took aim at the Sunshine Coast tourist attraction's management, saying the zoo has been crippled by poor planning and debt.
Up to 30 staff have been sacked, including 22 last month, and dozens more have been forced to take unpaid leave and job share, the former workers told New Idea magazine.
Zoo management blamed last month’s job losses on fewer visitors due to floods and the global economic crisis.
But former Australia Zoo receptionist Amy-Lee Hines told New Idea “a lot of people are scared to tell the truth but the truth needs to be told.
“If things don’t turn around, [Australia Zoo] will go down,” she is quoted as saying.
The zoo’s former curator Bruce Murdock told the magazine the management team was struggling with their ‘‘one-man brand’’.
‘‘It’s terrible,’’ he is quoted as saying.
‘‘They have blown millions on poor planning and poor execution.
‘‘They have dreams, but they don’t know how to put a structure in place to make it happen. There is no funding allocation, no budgeting for the long-term.
‘‘Steve had a lot of dreams. But they were massive dreams that only he could fund. After Steve died, they said they were still doing everything he wanted.
‘‘They are trying to do it on the back of Bindi and Terri, but I don’t think they can support it.’’
brisbanetimes.com.au has sought further comment from Australia Zoo management this morning.