28 February 2019

ALP deforestation pledge welcome but koalas need immediate protection

The Nature Conservation Council welcomes the NSW Labor’s pledge to end the state’s deforestation crisis by remaking environmental laws and calls on the party to commit to an immediate suspension of clearing of koala and threatened species habitat.

Labor today committed to establish a taskforce of scientists, conservationist and farmers to recommend laws “capable of stopping deforestation”. [1]

“This is a welcome announcement that will potentially right a wrong committed by the Berejiklian government, which legalised a wave of deforestation that is now sweeping across NSW,” Nature Conservation Council CEO Kate Smolski said.

“However, we call on the ALP to go further. Our koalas can’t wait for another taskforce because hundreds of hectares of koala habitat are being bulldozed every month.

“The crisis faced by nature in NSW requires an immediate moratorium on destruction of koala forests and other threatened species habitat, and a rapid end to logging of our public native forests.

“Labor’s environment policy doesn’t address logging and omitted the party’s previous commitment to a Great Koala National Park. These must be addressed before election day, so voters know where they stand.

“If we don’t end native forest logging, we are failing to deal with one of the root causes of the extinction crisis.

“Deforestation rates under the Coalition government have tripled in some districts and the koala is on track to be extinct mid-century if deforestation does not stop.

“The current government legalised a new wave of destruction by winding back environmental protections, removing controls on land clearing and forestry, and by renewing agreements to allow unsustainable logging of our public native forests to continue for another 20 years. 

“Agricultural and urban developers are now allowed to bulldoze 99% of identified koala habitat on private land, and loggers don’t even have to look for koalas before they cut down their forests. This devastation must stop.”

[1] Labor’s plan to protect our environment and address climate change


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