NEWS THAT MATTERS

What about our koalas?

It’s no secret that under the Liberal Government NSW koalas were given a raw deal - 12 years of removing environmental protections, increased rates of land clearing and the ongoing koala wars between the Liberals and Nationals in New South Wales, the protection status of koalas has gone from ‘not threatened’ to ‘vulnerable’ to ‘endangered’, with koalas on track to extinction in NSW by 2050. And do the liberals care? Premier Dominic Perrottet yesterday attacked Labor’s plan to create a Great Koala National Park on the mid-North Coast.

Clearing of koala habitat - the large letters on the machine's boom arm says it all.

20 January 2023

ALAN HAYES

 

A NATIONAL ICON, the koala must be protected from the machinations of a Liberal government, who continually pander to greedy developers and farmers by allowing the wholesale clearing of precious habit. This should be of major concern to every person.

 

So, what is the obvious answer to protect our koalas from extinction? The Opposition has come up with a sensible plan, if elected, which seems to have escaped the grey matter bouncing around on the government’s shoulders - to help save koalas from extinction by protecting key habitats and restoring environmental protections torn up by the Liberals and Nationals over the past 12 years.

 

Opposition Leader Chris Minns has announced that Labour will protect koala habitat by committing $80 million to create an iconic Great Koala National Park on the Mid North Coast between Kempsey and Coffs Harbour, protecting approximately 20 per cent of the wild koala population in NSW. And what did Perrottet do? – total dismissal of the plan despite Treasurer Matt Kean ordering an assessment of a Great Koala National Park in May 2019.

 

Kean took a two-day tour of the region not long after taking over the portfolio.

 

His departments’ analysis found just under 55,000 hectares of state forests would be transferred to the national park’s estate.

 

But the ongoing koala wars between the Liberals and Nationals meant the plan was abandoned.

 

Under Labor’s plan to protect the koala, expert scientific advice will be sought to help guide the process to develop a Great Koala National Park. The funding will go towards an important consultation process with all stakeholders that will include an independent economic assessment of the Park’s impact on local jobs and communities.

 

The koalas of southern Sydney will also be protected by ensuring the wildlife corridors in Woronora Heights are transferred from Sydney Water to National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS). Labor will assess all public land in the area to identify and protect wildlife corridors to link the Heathcote National Park, the Royal National Park and Dharawal National Park, supporting the growth of a newly discovered koala population.

 

Chris Minns said Labor will also use partnerships, planning, cooperation, and the levers of government to:

 

  • Complete the National Parks and Wildlife Service ‘National Parks Establishment Plan’ to identify key habitat and wildlife corridors and expand protected areas into the future.

 

  • Convene a koala summit with all key stakeholders to review and refocus the NSW Koala Strategy to ensure it is a legitimate recovery plan for koala populations across NSW.

 

  • Ensure the statutory review of the Biodiversity Conservation Act strengthens environmental protections, stops run away land clearing, and fixes the biodiversity offset scheme.

 

  • Work cooperatively with landowners (public agencies, First Nations, Councils, farmers and other private land holders) to develop ways to protect key habitat through partnerships & investment on all types of land.

 

  • Work cooperatively with the Commonwealth Government to meet the objectives of the Threatened Species Action Plan 2022-2032 and the 30 per cent protected areas by 2030 commitment to meet the goal of no new extinctions.

 

“There is one way to save koalas from extinction in New South Wales – and that is to vote Labor,” said Mr Minns.

 

“I don’t accept that one of our most loved and iconic native species could become extinct herein just 28 years’ time.

 

“We will take the action needed to turn that grim trajectory around.

 

“By protecting the places these koalas live, and by working closely with all stakeholders, we can ensure we bring these incredible creatures back from the brink.”

 

NSW Shadow Environment Minister Penny Sharpe said “After 12 years, six environment ministers, the weakening of environmental protections and koala wars between the Liberals and Nationals, koalas are now listed as endangered - in NSW they are on the brink of extinction.

 

“Koalas can’t afford another government that isn’t committed to their survival.

 

“Labor’s plan will start the urgent work needed to recover koala populations in New South Wales.”

 

The Liberal government’s attitude toward towards saving koalas is abysmal - they just don’t get it.

 

At the end of last year, Koalas Wars 2.0 was reignited when the government again moved to weaken environmental protection. They have left these precious animals vulnerable to extinction.

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