Sydney Times

CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT Fauna and Flora NSW STATE ELECTIONS-POLITICAL STATEMENTS

LABOR’S PLAN TO SAVE KOALAS

Written by Aksel Ritenis

LABOR’S PLAN TO SAVE KOALAS

A Minns Labor Government will help save koalas from extinction by protecting key habitats and restoring environmental protections torn up by the Liberals and Nationals over the past 12 years.

After 12 years of removing environmental protections, increased rates of land clearing and the ongoing koala wars between the Liberals and Nationals in New South Wales, the protection status of koalas has gone from ‘not threatened’ to ‘vulnerable’ to ‘endangered’, with koalas on track to extinction in NSW by 2050.

Labor’s plan will protect koala habitat by committing $80 million to create an iconic Great Koala National Park on the Mid North Coast between Kempsey and Coffs Harbour, protecting approximately 20 per cent of the wild koala population in NSW.

Expert scientific advice will be sought to help guide the process to develop a Great Koala National Park. The funding will go towards an important consultation process with all stakeholders that will include an independent economic assessment of the Park’s impact on local jobs and communities.

Under Labor’s plan, the koalas of southern Sydney will also be protected by ensuring the wildlife corridors in Woronora Heights are transferred from Sydney Water to National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS). Labor will assess all public land in the area to identify and protect wildlife corridors to link the Heathcote National Park, the Royal National Park and Dharawal National Park, supporting the growth of a newly discovered koala population.

Labor will also use partnerships, planning, cooperation, and the levers of government to:

  • Complete the National Parks and Wildlife Service ‘National Parks Establishment Plan’ to identify key habitat and wildlife corridors and expand protected areas into the future.
  • Convene a koala summit with all key stakeholders to review and refocus the NSW Koala Strategy to ensure it is a legitimate recovery plan for koala populations across NSW.
  • Ensure the statutory review of the Biodiversity Conservation Act strengthens environmental protections, stops run away land clearing, and fixes the biodiversity offset scheme.
  • Work cooperatively with landowners (public agencies, First Nations, Councils, farmers and other private land holders) to develop ways to protect key habitat through partnerships & investment on all types of land.
  • Work cooperatively with the Commonwealth Government to meet the objectives of the Threatened Species Action Plan 2022-2032 and the 30 per cent protected areas by 2030 commitment to meet the goal of no new extinctions.

After 12 years of Liberal National Governments, they just don’t get it. They have left these precious animals vulnerable to extinction.

The choice for voters is clear – protecting and saving koalas in New South Wales under Labor – or more koala wars under the Liberals and Nationals.

Quotes attributable to Chris Minns, NSW Labor Leader:

“There is one way to save koalas from extinction in New South Wales – and that is to vote Labor.

“I don’t accept that one of our most loved and iconic native species could become extinct herein just 28 years’ time.

“We will take the action needed to turn that grim trajectory around.

“By protecting the places these koalas live, and by working closely with all stakeholders, we can ensure we bring these incredible creatures back from the brink.”

Quotes attributable to Penny Sharpe, NSW Shadow Environment Minister:

“After 12 years, six environment ministers, the weakening of environmental protections and koala wars between the Liberals and Nationals, koalas are now listed as endangered.

“Koalas can’t afford another government that isn’t committed to their survival.

“Labor’s plan will start the urgent work needed to recover koala populations in New South Wales.”

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About the author

Aksel Ritenis

Publisher and Custodian of the Sydney Times

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