What does it mean to be an icon in NSW? Not much apparently. Unless the Baird government has a complete rethink of its environment policy the iconic koala faces a bleak future says the National Parks Association of NSW.
Koalas are one of just six of the 1000-odd threatened species put on an ‘iconic’ pedestal in the NSW government’s Saving our Species (SOS) programme. According to the government, “iconic species are important socially, culturally and economically, and the community expects them to be effectively managed and protected”1.
The dramatic eleventh-hour resignation by Professor Hugh Possingham, Australia’s most recognised scientist, has stripped away any pretence of scientific credibility and exposed Mike Baird’s land clearing legislation for what it is: a cash grab by big business and developers.
The primary objections of Professor Possingham are that the government is proposing self-assessable codes that will result in broad-scale land clearing, thus degrading soil, water and biodiversity, and that the ‘no net loss’ standard against which clearing should be measured has not made the draft legislation.
National parks protect the best of our natural heritage: stunning landscapes, extraordinary wildlife and majestic forests. Together with other protected areas they form the basis of our economic and social wellbeing, attract millions of visitors annually, and help to protect Australia’s unique wildlife by acting as a refuge for threatened species. Although their primary purpose is the protection of biodiversity, National Parks also deliver other invaluable economic, social, cultural and health benefits to Australians. Future generations deserve the right to see these natural values intact and protected as we do today.
The rampant clearing that is threatened is eerily reminiscent of that which occurred in Queensland under Campbell Newman’s disastrous reign—a mess that the incumbent Labor government still hasn’t been able to clean up.
Added to the increasing intensity of native forest logging and loss of habitat for urban development, the pending wave of land clearing will push koalas to the brink in NSW says the National Parks Association of NSW (NPA).
This is a sobering piece on the impacts of invasive species – particularly mammals – on extinction rates.
How can we stop this? One way is to restore populations of top order predators to control the smaller ones and promote coexistence.
In Australia this would mean dingoes or Tassie devils. Thoughts?