Saving our koalas from extinction

A few weeks ago, we were so happy to see the announcement that there would be a new Great Koala National Park on the mid north coast. However, since then, the tantrum from the National Party has put koala protection in serious jeopardy.

The benignly named Loca Land Services Amendment Miscellaneous Bill 2020 represents a huge capitulation by the Government to wind back protections for koalas.

Ever since the last known living Tasmanian Tiger died in a zoo in 1936, we have looked back on this moment as a tragedy.  This beautiful and iconic species was declared extinct 59 days after it was granted official protection.

But it is not enough for us to feel sad about a tragedy that happened several generations ago.  Our responsibility is to prevent that same fate from happening under our watch. To one of our most famous and most loved animals - the koala. 

Koalas in NSW will likely be extinct within 30 years, unless we act to protect them.

Before the catastrophic 2019/2020 bushfires, koalas were in trouble. Land clearing and loss of habitat mean that populations have been in a serious decline for many years.

It is estimated that nearly all the koalas in the fire grounds perished - an estimate of around 5000.

Without major intervention the koala will almost certainly go extinct.

After these devastating fires, we must preserve every remaining bit of koala habitat in our state. 

The Government should incentivise farmers so they're paid more to protect trees on their land instead of clearing them, and overhaul the failed biodiversity offsetting scheme, which allows core koala habitat to be cleared.

We welcome the government’s announcement of a new Great Koala National Park on the beautiful mid-north coast of NSW. Much of the area has been untouched by this season’s fires and has a large, healthy and growing koala population, but remains under threat from logging. It has never been more important to protect this area. However, this announcement has been undermined by Foresty Corporation continuing to log koala habitat on the Mid North Coast.

It’s not just Australians that love koalas, the entire world is urging us to act to save them. They are in our children’s books, in our tourism brochures and part of our collective story.

Protecting koalas means protecting our forests which is also habitat for countless other threatened species which have been hammered by these ferocious fires.

It’s fantastic that both the state and federal governments have said they will do whatever it takes to protect the koala after so many have been killed in these awful fires. But this government lacks the courage to turn those words into actions.

The Greens do not support this Bill.  The policy settings underpinning the Bill are inconsistent with recommendations made by the NSW Audit Office, Natural Resources Commission and NSW Upper House Inquiry; and also the original recommendations of the Independent Biodiversity Review Panel. The Bill also pre-emps the outcomes of government reviews currently in progress.

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