Koalas have been listed as an endangered species in NSW. The government estimates that there are fewer than 20,000 left in the wild, while some conservation groups challenge that and suggest the figure is as low as 12,000. There will be no koalas left in 30 years if we continue to cut down their food trees and destroy their habitat.
We need urgent action to remove koalas from the current path to extinction.
- Establish an Independent Commissioner for Wildlife with powers to cut through the cosy relationship between politicians, property developers and loggers to ensure that koala protection takes priority over vested interests.
- Establish the Great Koala National Park, to encompass 315,000 ha of public land in the Coffs Harbour region. This biodiversity hotspot is home to almost 20% of NSW’s remaining koalas.
- End all logging of native forests and expand koala habitat protections to wherever koala populations are found, including state and private native forests.
- $50m funding to establish a ‘Landholder Guardianship of Native Forests’ scheme to compensate private landholders who had entered into native forests logging contracts with the NSW Forestry Corporation.
- Landholders will be able to apply for Native Forest Guardianship payments where their land has been assessed to be of significant environmental value with regard to biodiversity or the presence of endangered species such as the koala. Payments will be calculated on the basis of the monetary value of commercial logging contract rates.
- No approvals or extensions to development in areas where koala colonies are present.
- $20m in funding for Local Councils to appoint qualified ecologists to carry out population studies and map koala populations.
- $50m to reforest strategic koala corridors, reconnecting fragmented habitat.
- $150m in funding to implement road safety programs in high density koala areas including virtual fencing, wildlife friendly culverts, land tunnels and vegetation clearance in roadside zones.
- $100m in funding through the Biodiversity Conservation Trust whereby landholders can set aside pockets of private land for reforesting in return for remuneration for lost farm revenue.
$10m in funding to expand and encourage local Aboriginal communities to participate in Koala Advisory Groups by integrating traditional ecological knowledge into koala conservation.