Today’s announcement of a new Georges River Koala Reserve is a welcome first step if the Government is going to live up to its promise to double koala numbers by 2050 said Greens MP and environment spokesperson and Chair of the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into Koala Populations and their Habitat, Cate Faehrmann.
“One of the recommendations from the Inquiry into NSW Koalas was that the government create a Georges River Koala National Park to protect the healthy koala population in Sydney’s south-west,” said Ms Faehrmann.
“This announcement is a good start and shows the Environment Minister is listening to the community in their pleas for koalas to be protected. We’ve had four previous Ministers who did nothing so today’s announcement is certainly a welcome relief.
“I am concerned about the timeline and the fact that this reserve will be implemented gradually over many years. Koalas can’t wait that long, so I urge the Government to protect the entire 1,885 hectares immediately.
“It’s also disappointing that only one of the vital corridors which koalas use between the Georges and Nepean Rivers is included in this Reserve.
“A key recommendation of the Inquiry was to ‘ensure the protection of the koala colony and habitat before allowing any further development for the South Western Sydney koala population’. Unfortunately the government is still allowing koala habitat to be cleared for Stage 2 of Lend Lease’s Figtree Hill development, so I’d like to know how they’re going to ensure the existing koala colony is protected as a result of this development going ahead.
“The Inquiry found that ongoing habitat loss and fragmentation was the greatest threat to the ongoing survival of the Koala.
“There are 41 more recommendations from the NSW Koala Inquiry for the government to take over the next few months to stop the Koala becoming extinct in NSW before 2050. Next in line must be a Great Koala National Park for the mid-north coast and stopping the Brandy Hill Quarry expansion and Kings Hill development in Port Stephens,” said Ms Faehrmann.