NSW Labor have demanded urgent action after an upper house inquiry report revealed koalas could be extinct by 2050.
The report made several alarming findings, including:
Koala populations in NSW will become extinct before 2050 unless urgent steps are taken to align planning, forestry, land clearing and offsetting policies to ensure that koala habitat is protected;
The impact of the last bushfire season has made the plight of NSW koalas more urgent. This comes on top of other serious threats to koala populations such as climate change, urban growth and loss of vital wildlife corridors through clearing;
The current NSW Koala Strategy fails to meet the NSW Chief Scientist’s recommendations regarding a whole of government approach to koala protection – and doesn’t protect koalas, stabilise or grow their population.
As well as calling on the government to act quickly on the report’s recommendations, the NSW opposition threw its support behind the inquiry’s recommendation to establish a koala national park along the Georges River to protect the local colony.
Campbelltown’s colony is unique as it is the only chlamydia disease free colony in the state.
The state member for Campbelltown, Greg Warren, says local koalas are loved by many members of our community.
“I often speak to people who have been on long bushwalks through the Dharawal National Park in the hope of spotting one of them,’’ he said.
“We need to ensure our koalas not only survive but also thrive.
“This is truly a matter of life and death for our precious local colony.”
Labor’s Camden duty MLC, Mark Buutigieg, who was on the committee that conducted the inquiry, said it was “obvious the Berejiklian Government has been failing to protect our koalas”.
“Koalas in South Western Sydney are in serious danger,’’ he said.
“It is vital that the Georges River Koala National Park is established as it will provide a safe environment for our precious koalas.
“The Berejiklian Government must urgently act now or our koala population will be extinct by 2050 – it is that dire.”