Today (Wednesday) the NSW Upper House will debate a bill to establish a Great Koala National Park on the mid-north coast with Labor and the Government yet to indicate whether they will support the bill. The bill legislates the ask of a strong community campaign over a number of years and has been introduced by Greens MP and koala spokesperson Cate Faehrmann.
“Koalas have just been listed as officially endangered in NSW meaning they’re closer to extinction than ever before. The Government and opposition must take the opportunity to vote for this bill and establish a Great Koala National Park to ensure koalas do not go extinct in NSW on their watch,” says Cate Faehrmann.
“The number one threat driving koalas to extinction is habitat loss. This includes logging of core koala habitat. My bill will preserve a massive chunk of pristine koala habitat on the Mid North Coast and give koalas a fighting chance.
“If Labor and the Government have the courage to support my bill, the people of NSW will benefit from a unique protected area that is not only great for koalas, but also for the region.
“The election has shown that the Australian people want action on the environment. Not only will the creation of a Great Koala National Park save koalas, it will create a vibrant eco-tourism industry bringing 10,000 new jobs to the region.
“The Government has stated they want to double koala numbers by 2050 and Labor took a plan to establish a Great Koala National Park to the last election. I call on them both to stick to their word and vote for this bill,” said Ms Faehrmann.
The National Parks and Wildlife Amendment (Great Koala National Park) Bill 2021 would:
- Gazette 175,000 hectares of state forests, adding them to existing protected areas to form a 315,000 hectare protected area on the Mid North Coast, protecting an area that is home to around 20 per cent of the NSW koala population
- Require the government to develop an economic, conservation and tourism plan for the ‘Great Koala National Park; and
- Require the government to develop a transition plan, including a structural adjustment package, for forestry workers
A University of Newcastle reportfound the Great Koala National Park would generate $412 million in visitor expenditure and create 9,810 full-time-equivalent jobs.
The bill will be debated in the Legislative Council on Wednesday 8 June 2022.