Forget federal election, state spotlight on Campbelltown’s koalas

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A week ago, members of Save Sydney’s Koalas and the opposition environment spokesperson Penny Sharpe joined local MP Greg Warren at Kentlyn to blast the state government on koalas.

Their message was that without urgent action Campbelltown’s disease free koala colony faced an uncertain future.

And they also repeated their call  for a Georges River Koala National Park (GRKNP) – a key recommendation of an upper house enquiry into koalas.

It may have been a coincidence, but just six days later, on Saturday, the NSW Government released its new koala strategy, backed by “an unprecedented amount of funding and more than 30 actions to conserve and grow koala populations’’.

Environment minister James Griffin said the five year plan was a comprehensive roadmap that would help deliver the government’s ambition to double the number of koalas.

“This $193.3 million NSW koala strategy is the biggest financial commitment by any government to secure the future of koalas in the wild,” Mr Griffin said.

“In fact, this is the largest investment in any single species in Australia, and demonstrates how committed we are to conservation and achieving our goal of doubling koala numbers by 2050.

“We know there are multiple threats to koalas, including loss and fragmentation of their habitat, compounded by the impact of the devastating 2019–20 bushfires, as well as vehicle strike and dog attack.”

The strategy focuses on conservation actions under four themes:

  • $107.1 million for koala habitat conservation, to fund the protection, restoration, and improved management of 47,000 hectares of koala habitat
  • $19.6 million to supporting local communities to conserve koalas
  • $23.2 million for improving the safety and health of koalas by removing threats, improving health and rehabilitation, and establishing a translocation program
  • $43.4 million to support science and research to build our knowledge of koalas.

“This strategy will better secure 10 climate resilient koala stronghold locations from the Southern Tablelands, to Campbelltown and Lismore, which will receive intensive action in the next five years to support the existing populations there,” Mr Griffin said.

“Some of these actions include preventing vehicle strike and dog attacks and restoring and protecting 47,000 additional hectares of habitat.”

A key part of the koala strategy involves establishing partnerships with conservation groups and communities.

Penny Sharpe, second from left, Greg Warren and members of Save Sydney’s Koalas at Kentlyn a week ago.

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