The koala is in crisis.
NSW is set to lose its koala population by 2050 if action isn’t taken urgently to protect it.
Logging, land clearing, urban development, mining, climate change and bushfires are pushing the koala towards extinction.
- In the last 20 years, we lost two-thirds of our koalas.
- In 2012 the koala was listed as vulnerable.
- In the following 5 years, 73 000 hectares of koala habitat was destroyed in NSW reducing the numbers of koalas by another 30-60%.
- By the end of 2020, no further protection for the koala has been implemented by the government
How did we get here?
A decade of mismanagement of koala habitat.
- 2012 - Due rapidly falling koala numbers in Queensland and NSW, the government was forced to list the Koala as a threatened species. Incredibly, since then their decline has accelerated. Under the new regulation which was introduced in 2012 urban development, logging or mining which might have an impact on koala population would need to be referred to the Australian Federal Government for assessment and approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Commission Act. However almost all of the 73 000 hectares of koala habitat which were cleared since 2012, only 9% were approved under the EPBC Act. The rest of the habitat was harvested without any oversight or government intervention.
- 2017 - The Berejiklian government repealed the Native Vegetation Act. Landowners are from then on allowed to self assess the conservation value of their private land before bulldozing it. Unsurprisingly very little land was deemed of conservation value and land clearing accelerated thirteen fold in the ensuing years across NSW. 65% of koalas live on private land, so little or no protection is granted to them
- 2020 - An Upper House report on Koala Population and Habitat was released, chaired by Greens MLC Cate Faehrmann
- Logging, land clearing, urban development, mining and climate change are causing the koala extinction crisis. The worsening climate crisis adds to the threats of the koala’s survival
- In 2019 The Government introduced an improved “Koala SEPP”, increasing the number of trees considered valuable for the koalas’ survival from 5 to 123 and gave a more precise definition of what should be considered as “core koala habitat”. These trees could not be logged.
- By September 2020, the National Party threatened to leave to coalition over these changes, claiming they were standing up for farmers. To “cure” the new legislation they introduced a Local Land Amendment Bill which passed the Lower House, but was blocked in the Upper House by Liberal MLC Catherine Cusack who could not support the government’s spin that this bill would bring certainty to farmers wishing to clear their land and at the same time could protect koalas. People protested in her electorate as well as across the State to block this bill. People power stopped this bill.
- Following this, the government retracted its steps and re -inacted the previous SEPP 44 which had been in place from 2015-2019, but had failed to protect koalas.
- We expect the “koala wars” to continue in 2021.
Native forest logging on public and private land reduces habitat, food supply and increases heat while reducing rainfall. Re-growth forest, while offering the possibility to generate some food, has little habitat value as the koala prefers larger trees to feed and live on. Koalas, found in these forests tend to have less chance of survival during bushfires as they try to escape the fire by climbing higher into the canopy, where they are likely to burn to death.
Large areas of habitat are lost due to urban sprawl into areas where koalas live. One prime example is the development proposal for Sydney’s Campbelltown as explained further below.
What Can be Done?
Protect Native Forests
Ending all native forest logging will protect threatened species habitat and contribute to a healthier climate, as well as reduce chances of large scale bushfires. They also increase rainfall and reduce heat. Native forest logging needs to end. We don’t need to log native forests to fulfil our wood chip and timber contracts. There is enough plantation timber available.
NSW government can establish the Great Koala National Park along NSW North coast.
The Government needs to accept the proposal for the Great Koala National Park
Proposed for the Coffs Harbour hinterland, the Great Koala National Park would stretch over 315 00 hectares, combining existing National Parks with State forests to create habitat for declining numbers of koalas and other threatened and vulnerable species. Last summers bushfires killed 71% of koala population in northern NSW making the case for the Great Koala National Park even stronger.
- During the 2019 - 2020 summer bushfires burnt over 1.3 million ha of public forest along the NSW north coast
- 59% of National Parks
- 54% of State Forests
- 35 % of Rainforests
- logging in unburnt state forests is ongoing and accelerating, critically undermining any chance for survival of koalas, reports of forests being cut down despite proven koala presence are being investigated
- The Great Koala National Park would make economic sense: Boost in Tourism, recreation and regional job opportunities
Map artwork © @jessharwoodart
Koala colony in Sydney, Campbelltown
On the fringes of Sydney, a healthy, chlamydia free koala colony is thriving and growing. However urban sprawl and a fast-tracked development push by the government in this area, this colony is in the way of bulldozers
- about 500 koalas exist in the area south of Campbelltown.
- The colony is healthy and adds to the genetic diversity of the species
- There is the opportunity for a new national park, the Upper Georges River National Park to be established. This would provide north-south and east-west corridors to allow the Koalas migration and repopulate nearby burnt areas in the world heritage national park of the Blue Mountains
- The colony is threatened by a proposed development which cuts the link between the Georges and Nepean Rivers, disallowing the koala to move between these areas and therefore isolating it.
We are asking the government to declare the koala colony in the area between the Blue Mountains to Campbelltown to be of national importance. To establish an Upper Georges River Koala National Park and to stop stage 2 Gilead development.
Additionally, we ask the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Rob Stokes to offer better koala protection in urban development areas and create at least 450m wide corridors for habitat as well as koala crossings under busy roads to reduce roadkill.
What you can do to push our government to protect the koala and stop logging native forests:
Download this poster here and put it in your window:
- Chip in for a street billboard in Premier Berejiklians electorate. Donate to our Foundation to plaster the streets with reminders that the Premier can protect Koalas from extinction.
- Write a personalised letter to Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Planning Minister Rob Stokes and Environment Minister Matt Kean and share with us.
- Premier Galdys Berejiklian: Shop 26/145-151 Sailors Bay Rd, Northbridge, NSW 2063
- Planning Minister Rob Stokes MP :GPO Box 5341, Sydney NSW 2001
- Environment Minister Matt Kean MP: GPO Box 5341 , Sydney NSW 2001
- Volunteer with us on this campaign. Get in touch with Doro our Sydney Campaigns Organiser via [email protected]
- Sign our letter to the Premier here.
- Or order your A4 yard sign for $5 and display on you front fence, contact Doro for more info at [email protected]
- Help us remind Gladys Berejiklian to Save our Koalas. We want to have 1000 posters on our streets and fences. Print our Koalas Need Forests poster above and place it in your window, facing the street.