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National Park additions welcome – but where are the koalas meant to live?

New South Wales still has a long way to go when it comes to preserving critical koala habitat, despite the announcement of new national parks in the east and west of the state. 

While the acquisitions will be a great step toward Australia's commitment to protect 30% of NSW land by 2030, the Perrottet Government is still selling endangered species short. 

Analysis by Nature Conservation Council NSW has found that of the lands added to the national parks estate by the Coalition over the past 11 years, only 3.1% are in areas of significant koala habitat. 

That includes the 3,157 hectares announced on Sunday. 

NCC chief executive Jacqui Mumford says nowhere near enough is being done to create the comprehensive and representative reserve system that is needed to safeguard biodiversity.

"Of more than 458 000 hectares of Areas of Regional Koala Significance (ARKS) mapped in NSW, only 21% are inside a National Park.  

"One of our most iconic species is being subjected to native forest logging and out of control land clearing, and the National Parks estate can't save it unless something big changes. 

"Koalas now face extinction in our lifetimes without urgent action. Yet their habitat has virtually no protection from the logging and clearing that is driving this decline. 

"We need a new deal for nature, a new deal for koalas in NSW. The Government can’t keep logging and clearing the vast majority of the best koala habitat and expect to double the number of koalas.” said Ms Mumford. 

This NSW election, the Nature Conservation Council of NSW is calling on candidates to: 

  • Stop logging public native forests and shift to plantations. 
  • Convert state forests to reserves by 2024 and conserve all core koala habitat on publicly owned land, including the creation of the Great Koala National Park 
  • Ban the clearing of koala habitat, and overhaul land clearing laws and the biodiversity offset scheme. 

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