NSW Greens MP and Koala Protection spokesperson, Dawn Walker MP has described the State Government’s private land purchase scheme as inadequate to stopping the further decline of koalas across NSW.
While the State Government’s proposal to purchase private land of high conservation value for koalas is a logical step, it’s alarming that the Government refuses to apply the same strategic oversight to protecting core koala habitat on public land, like state forests.
“We know some of the richest koala habitat in Australia is found in state forests on the Mid-North Coast and South Coast, yet the Government is more interested in propping-up the destructive native forest logging industry than conserving these areas for koalas.
“Indeed the NSW Environment Minister has admitted that only ‘unproductive’ state forests are being set aside for koalas under the Government’s Koala Plan and it was recently revealed that the State Government wilfully ignored their own experts in the Office of Environment and Heritage by only protecting bits of forest no longer needed by the logging industry.
“The Liberal-National Government’s Koala Plan doesn’t address the root cause underpinning the crash in koala numbers and $20 million to purchase a few pieces of private land won’t change that. They must end destructive logging of our native forests, wind-back habitat clearing laws, create new National Parks from state forests containing high-value koala habitat and curtail urban-development to prevent wild koalas going extinct in NSW.
“The Greens are repeating our calls for the immediate creation of a Great Koala National Park in the Coffs Harbour hinterland where 20% of NSW’s wild koalas are found and at ongoing risk from logging operations” said Dawn Walker MP.