A small step for Koalas

MEDIA RELEASE 12 September 2023

The NSW Government’s announcement to protect Koala Hubs within the proposed Great Koala National Park from logging is welcomed as an important, but small, step forward, though if there is a genuine intent to save Koalas from extinction the Government needs to protect all Koala Hubs across NSW and reinstate the requirement for pre-logging surveys to identify and protect all important Koala habitat, according to the North East Forest Alliance.

In 2017, at the request of the Chief Scientist, Office of Environment and Heritage analysed Koala records to identify for protection “areas of currently known significant koala occupancy that indicate clusters of resident populations known as Koala Hubs”.

NEFA has been lobbying since 2018 for the Government to protect Koala Hubs from logging and clearing, though the previous Government suppressed the OEH report and refused to do anything to protect them, subsequently allowing the Forestry Corporation to log and clear around 1,000ha of Koala Hubs, according to NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh.

“NEFA wrote to Penny Sharpe on 3 April 2023 asking her to protect the 1,300 ha of Koala Hubs within the Great Koala National Park proposed for logging this year.  

“In May 2023 we identified to Penny that across the north coast there are 2,716 ha of Koala Hubs in compartments identified by the Forestry Corporation for logging this year.

“Despite our entreaties, the Forestry Corporation was allowed to log Koala Hubs within the Great Koala National Park in Moonpar, Orara East, Boambee, and Newry State Forests.

“This was clearly an untenable position, so it is welcome news that Koala Hubs will no longer be logged within the proposed Great Koala National Park, though lamentable that they can go on logging them elsewhere (such as currently in Yarratt State Forest).

“Koala Hubs were based on aggregations of Koala records identified over repeated surveys as at 2017. As most forests haven’t been surveyed, and results since 2017 are not included, they represent a small fraction of important Koala habitat, including within the GKNP.

“In May we also informed Penny Sharpe that the Forestry Corporation’s 12 month logging plans included 41,000 ha of Nationally Important Koala Areas identified by the Federal Government in accordance with the National Recovery Plan.

“Continued logging of important Koala habitat must stop, at the very least Penny Sharpe needs to reinstate the requirement for pre-logging Koala surveys, and ensure all important habitat is protected” Mr. Pugh said.

FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES: contact Dailan Pugh 0400 711 054

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