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All parties agree: koalas need our urgent help

The Nature Conservation Council welcomes the recommendations of the NSW Upper House inquiry into Koala populations and habitat in NSW and urges the government to urgently implement its recommendations. [1]

“Koalas are on track to be extinct in NSW by 2050.  Absolutely no one wants that,” Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian said. 

“There were once hundreds of thousands of koalas in NSW - possibly millions - but now there are fewer than 30,000 in the wild. 

“Their numbers continue to dive because of land clearing for agriculture, logging for timber, urban development and climate-fueled bushfires.

“We are pleased that there is a growing political consensus that koala extinction is a very real possibility if we don’t act urgently to protect koala habitat.

“The conservation movement stands ready to work with the government, industry, communities and unions to formulate a plan that will genuinely protect koalas in NSW.

“We have known for years that koalas have been struggling due to habitat loss caused by deforestation in NSW. 

“The NSW koala inquiry report makes it clear that the key to saving koalas is protecting their habitat.

“Koala habitat on farms and in state-owned forests is being bulldozed and chainsawed at an alarming rate. 

“We have to stop logging koala trees and start creating more dedicated koala reserves. 

“We must also protect forest corridors which link populations and enable healthy koalas to reoccupy areas where there have been local extinctions, such as around Port Macquarie after the fires. 

“We welcome the recommendation to create a koala national park around the Georges River, and hope that the government will progress the creation of the north coast koala national park in collaboration with all stakeholders.

“The Environment Minister’s own department examined that proposal last year and concluded it would protect some of the best koala forests left in the state. 

“Creation of that park would be a massive step forward for koala conservation.”

Mr Gambian said the perilous state of koala populations in NSW was an indictment of state and federal environmental laws.

“Koala numbers have plunged under these laws so they are clearly not working,” he said.

“What’s the point of environment laws that set a course for the extinction of our most iconic national species?

“The plight of the species is the clearest argument that we must overhaul our environmental laws to reverse the trend.”

REFERENCES 

[1] Koala populations and habitat in New South Wales, PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE NO. 7, NSW Legislative Council, June 30, 2020.

Committee page: https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/committees/inquiries/Pages/inquiry-details.aspx?pk=2536#tab-reportsandgovernmentresponses

 

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