NSW Greens MP and Forest spokesperson, Dawn Walker has slammed the Berejiklian Government's decision to ignore the advice of it’s own koala experts following the release of documents obtained under Freedom of Information.
“NSW’s wild koalas are facing a crisis and are on the path towards extinction. Yet rather than protect the areas of habitat identified by their own experts in the Office of Environment and Heritage, the State Government wilfully ignores the science and selects random areas that are essentially bits of forest no longer needed by the logging industry” said Greens MP Dawn Walker.
“I’ve stood in forests and seen first-hand the destructive logging of koala habitat across NSW. It’s appalling that the Government’s new reserves cover just 0.2% of the forest that experts have identified as core koala habitat or ‘Koala Hubs’.
“It’s dubious whether functional koalas colonies even exist in some of these proposed reserves, like at Mt Lindesay near the Border Ranges, which is so degraded from logging and dieback only 8% of that forest is mapped as quality koala habitat.
“The Liberal-National Government’s Koala Plan is largely a con-job that doesn’t address the root causes underpinning the crash in koala numbers across NSW and these documents now prove it.
“Their Koala Plan fails to end the destructive logging of our native forests, fails to wind back habitat clearing laws and fails to even protect the forests where koalas actually live. Even more disturbing, the Government plans to ramp up logging across the North Coast with a new ‘intensive harvesting zone’ between Taree and Grafton that will see large areas of koala habitat clear-felled.
“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 risk from logging operations.
“The Government’s Koala Plan is designed to make it look like the they are acting to protect koalas, but the community can see it for the sham that it is” said Dawn Walker MP.