The National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) has welcomed the renewed commitments around protecting koalas and establishing the Great Koala National Park made by Opposition Leader Luke Foley.
Mr Foley committed Labor 1 to protecting remaining koala populations on the north coast in national parks, holding a NSW koala summit and working with farmers, scientists and environment groups to protect native vegetation.
“We’re really at crisis point. Koala populations have all but disappeared in southern NSW, plummeted in the Pilliga, gone down by 50% on the north coast and are under significant pressure from development in suburban Sydney. We must start taking koala declines seriously,” said Ms Alix Goodwin, NPA CEO.
“The drivers are clear: loss of habitat from urban development, logging and clearing, which then renders koalas increasingly vulnerable to dog attacks and vehicle strike because they must spend more time on the ground, and disease because they are increasingly stressed.
“The first and most important step is habitat protection—as it is in the conservation of all animals.
“Unfortunately, the Government has effectively removed habitat protection on private land; released a koala strategy that contained no new protection for koalas and is introducing logging laws that will see almost half of mapped high-quality koala habitat on the north coast subjected to clearfell2 logging.
“We simply can’t expect koalas to persist in the face of the current onslaught on their habitat. NPA therefore welcomes Labor’s renewed commitment to NPA’s Great Koala National Park proposal.
“It is in the same place—the Coffs coast—that the Government proposes an intensive harvesting zone over 140,000 hectares of coastal forests. So that’s two very different visions for the future: clearfelled forests and no koalas, or a Great Koala National Park and a booming tourism industry centred on it.
“NPA also stands ready to work with farmers to design and implement land clearing protections that serve both the environment and needs of farmers. We understand through our projects working with farmers on restoring habitat corridors that the vast majority want to look after native vegetation, biodiversity and waterways.”
Media contact: Ms Alix Goodwin (CEO): 9299 0000
- In assessing the Government’s logging proposals, one of the scientists on the expert panel said: “It must be clearly understood that these proposed intensive harvesting practices are effectively clear felling diverse native forest to replace with even age native plantations in a deliberate manner.”