NSW Upper House Inquiry aligns with Aussie Ark fight for koala protection

Aussie Ark president Tim Faulkner initiated a fundraising campaign to create a koala sanctuary in the Barrington Tops in December 2019. Photo supplied by Aussie Ark
Aussie Ark president Tim Faulkner initiated a fundraising campaign to create a koala sanctuary in the Barrington Tops in December 2019. Photo supplied by Aussie Ark

A call has been made to the State Government to act immediately for the protection of koala and Aussie Ark president, Tim Faulkner agrees.

"We seem to keep reiterating what we already know - koalas are going extinct," Mr Faulkner said. "Now is the time to act, before it is too late."

His comments come off the back of a report released on Tuesday (June 30) from the NSW Upper House Inquiry into the State's koala populations and their habitat.

On the list of actions is the recommendation for the government to investigate the establishment of the Great Koala National Park in the Mid North Coast.

The committee has also highlighted the importance of a major shift in action by the government, without delay.

"What became crystal clear during this inquiry was that without urgent government intervention the koala will become extinct in NSW before 2050," committee chair, Cate Faehrmann said.

"The report found that habitat loss and fragmentation was the biggest threat to koalas, yet at every turn we were handed evidence that showed our current laws are inadequate and facilitating the clearing of core koala habitat," she explained.

The report found that habitat loss and fragmentation was the biggest threat to koalas, yet at every turn we were handed evidence that showed our current laws are inadequate and facilitating the clearing of core koala habitat.

Cate Faehrmann

The outcome of the report echos the call Mr Faulkner put out at the end of last year when the organisation started fundraising for a 7000-hectare sanctuary for koalas in the Barrington Tops.

The report proposes two new national parks to protect some koala populations from immediate threats, the Great Koala National Park on the Mid North Coast and Georges River National Park in Sydney's South West.

"The committee heard compelling evidence that the park would protect large areas of core koala habitat while creating a globally significant tourist attraction," Ms Faehrmann said. "This report has demonstrated beyond doubt that decades of logging in public native forests has had a devastating impact on koalas and their habitat."

Mr Faulkner, who called for a State of Emergency for koalas during the height of the December bushfires, has been a long term supporter of the Great Koala National Park.

A koala amid the fire. Photo supplied by Aussie Ark

A koala amid the fire. Photo supplied by Aussie Ark

"It has my support," he said. "Aussie Ark is protecting habitat through the creation of refuge habitat, managing feral predators and pests, as well as fire, disease and other threats. We plan to provide sanctuary to over 1500 koalas. Too long have we watched as our species disappear. Surely the koala, our most iconic species, is the wake up call."

The committee recognises that the current strategies and policies designed to protect the koala aren't working.

"Climate change, which exacerbated the drought and the recent devastating bushfires is a significant threat to koalas," Ms Faehrmann said. "The committee recommends that the government factor in climate change as a key consideration in the drafting of all relevant legislation and planning strategies and ensure climate change mitigation is a core component of all strategies to save the koala in New South Wales."

Aussie Ark

Aussie Ark is a not-for-profit organisation that raises funds to continue its vision with investment allowing for the construction of captive facilities and predator proof fencing on semi-wild parcels of land. Aussie Ark is a registered environmental organisation and charitable institution under the Australian Charity and Not-for-Profit Commission. For more information visit www.aussieark.org.au.

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