MEDIA RELEASE 25th February 2019: The Greens have today called on the government to respond to the crisis affecting Koala numbers in the state by agreeing to create a ‘Great Koala National Park’ in Northern NSW to protect the species from the threats posed by logging, urban expansion and climate change.
“There is clear and present danger for this wonderful creature, a national icon, and again when it comes to protecting the environment this government is missing in action,” Greens MP Dawn Walker said.
Last week the president of World Wildlife Fund International (WWF) wrote to Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison and New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian demanding immediate action to save the nation’s forests and koalas.
He made clear to both governments that koalas are facing a crisis like that suffered by orangutans.
“Koalas are recognised around the world as a vital part of Australia’s environmental and cultural landscape,” she said.
“Estimates are that koala numbers have declined by 50% over the last 20 years.
“The actions of this Government have placed this beloved animal at immediate risk, primarily through continued logging of native forests and urban expansion.
“Shockingly, koala populations have halved on the NSW North Coast over the last 20 years.
“Establishing a Great Koala National Park near Coffs Harbour will help ensure the survival of one of NSW’s most important koala populations and greatly invigorate our local economy,” Jonathan Cassell, Greens Candidate for Coffs Harbour said.
“The people of the region have made it clear that protecting this creature is one of their key concerns and it will put Coffs Harbour on the international map,” he said.
The Great Koala National Park would see 175,000ha of State Forest added to existing protected areas to form a 315,000ha reserve in the Coffs Harbour region.
The Great Koala National Park will also protect hundreds of forests species and preserve extensive areas of tall eucalypt forest from destructive logging where 20% of NSW’s wild koalas live.