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Government should pay for koala surveys and plans of management

The Nature Conservation Council calls on the NSW Government to reimburse small landholders the cost of pre-development koala surveys and to fund local councils to formulate koala plans of management.

“We all want to save koalas from extinction so it makes sense for the government to support all practical measures that will protect them,” Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian said.

“The conservation movement stands ready to sit down with farmers in good faith and work through any issues they have with the provisions of the Koala Habitat Protection State Environment Planning Policy. [1]

“We know the overwhelming majority of farmers care deeply about the land, bushland and wildlife in their care.

“Reimbursing the costs of pre-development koala surveys for small landholders is a very practical way the government can help landholders play their part in conserving koalas for future generations.

“We have said from the start that the Koala Habitat Protection State Environmental Planning Policy falls short of what’s required, but it is an improvement and should be retained.” [2]

Mr Gambian said another practical measure the government should take is to give local councils the resources they need to complete koala plans of management.

“One of the failings of the current system is that only six of the almost 90 councils with koalas have completed koala plans of management,” he said.

“Part of the problem is that some councils are hostile to koala conservation. Others simply lack the resources to create the plan.

“If the NSW Government is serious about koala conservation, it should make the development of koala plans of management mandatory for all identified regions and ensure all councils have the resources they need to implement them.

“The cost of KPOMs varies but are in the order of $150,000. The government could facilitate the development of KPOMs for the whole state for a little more than $12 million.”

[1] State Environmental Planning Policy (Koala Habitat Protection) 2019

[2] Tinkering with the koala SEPP will not save the species, Nature Conservation Council, December 2019 


Chris Gulaptis MP and the Nationals declare war on koalas

Clarence National Party MP Chris Gulaptis has opened a new front in the National Party’s war on koalas and conservation by demanding the new laws designed to prevent the species’ extinction be scrapped. [1] 

“On current trends, koalas are on track to become extinct in NSW by 2050,” Nature Conservation Council CEO Chris Gambian said.

“The laws that Mr Gulaptis wants to tear up were drafted well before the summer bushfires, which killed thousands, wiped out local populations and pushed many others closer to extinction. 

“If anything, the government should be considering strengthening laws to protect this iconic species.”

Mr Gambian said Mr Gulaptis’s threat to sit on the cross benches if the government didn’t scrap koala protections was the latest in a series of attacks by National MPs on koalas.

“Nationals Leader John Barilaro has aggressively pushed to continue logging koala forests after the bushfires destroyed millions of hectares of prime habitat,” Mr Gambian said.

“Several forests on the north coast that were among the last unburned koalas forests in the state have been targeted by Forestry Corporation for intensive logging with the state government’s blessing.

“The Nationals are also behind moves to slash and burn national parks and allow cows to trample conservation reserves.

“If we want our children and grandchildren to see koalas in the wild, we have to stop destroying their forests. 

“If Mr Gulaptis and John Barilaro get their way, the demise of the koala is guaranteed to happen even faster than projected.”

[1] We can’t bear this nationals’ revolt, Daily Telegraph, 2-9-20


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.”


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

Committee page:


Bringing Pip home

Pip the orphan joey was raised in a koala kindy so he could interact with other little koalas and get the sense of warmth and security that he would get from his mum if she was still alive. Pip’s journey is a story that everyone needs to hear. Share Pip’s story and sign the petition to save our koalas:

The Northern Rivers has a dark secret

The Northern Rivers of NSW is an incredibly beautiful place with a dark secret. In the past 20 years, half of all koalas in the region have been wiped out.

Why did the koala cross the road?


Deforestation is no joke. Right now NSW is in a deforestation crisis. Koalas could be extinct in parts of NSW by 2050. Sign the petition to speak up: