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Nationals try to hoodwink Liberals on koala peace plan

Liberal MPs are starting to see through the Nationals’ deception about the changes to koala protections in NSW.

At least one upper house Liberal has threatened to vote against the National’s Local Land Services Amendment Bill after realising it would prevent any more core koala habitat on private land being protected from logging and land clearing. [1]

Two-thirds of koala habitat is on private land, not in national parks, [2] and only 7 per cent of relevant council areas have koala plans of management in place. [3]

“The bill the Nationals are trying to sneak through the parliament would freeze koala protections on rural land at today’s disastrously low levels,” Nature Conservation Council Campaigns Director Brad Smith said.

“This bill is a death warrant for all koalas that don’t live in protected forests. It was quietly rushed through the lower house and is now being considered by the upper house. 

“If the bill passes, it will make the government’s stated aim of doubling koala numbers by 2050 impossible. [4]

“Even before the bushfires, koala’s were on track to become extinct in the wild by 2050 without urgent action. Then the fires wiped out about 30 per cent of the population in some areas. 

“The species needs our urgent help, and the government’s Koala SEPP represented a small but positive step in that direction.

“But the National Party bill will basically stop the Koala SEPP ever applying to rural land if it doesn’t already do so.

“The LLS Amendment Bill is a disaster for koalas — much worse than Liberal MPs have been led to believe by their Coalition partners — and should not become law.”

The Bill has already passed the lower house and is due to be debated in the upper house within days.

“We call on all Liberal MPs in the upper house to block this bill,” Dr Smith said. 

“The bill is a cheap trick that is not in keeping with the peace deal struck between the Coalition parties last month.”

REFERENCES 

[1] Channel 7 News, Tuesday, November 10, 2020 

[2] Koala populations and habitat in New South Wales, NSW Upper House Inquiry, 2020. Page 16.

[3] Koala Habitat Protection SEPP - NSW Government

[4]  Matt Kean aims to double koala population by 2050, SMH, 26-6-2020 

 

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