Protecting koalas is still at the forefront of conservation efforts in the Northern Rivers and Greens chair of the NSW government koala inquiry Cate Faehrmann MP recently visited Murwillumbah.
Ms Faehrmann met with Tweed Councillor Katie Milne and the lead Greens candidate for Tweed Council Dr Nola Firth, along with members of the Northern Rivers Community, at the Regent Theatre.
The meeting was held to highlight the group’s concern about the plight of koalas and to give up-to-date information about the efforts being made to protect koala habitat in the region, and what more needs to be done to stop it from being destroyed.
Impacts of the proposed amendments to policy
Ms Faerhmann discussed the impacts of the proposed amendments to policy by the NSW Berejiklian government which will further eliminate protection to koala habitat on the North Coast.
‘In June 2020 the main finding of the Upper House inquiry into koala populations and habitat found that without urgent government action, the koala will become extinct in New South Wales before 2050,’ said Ms Faehrmann.
‘The shocking finding attracted massive international media attention, including the BBC who were particularly interested in the plight of the much-loved koala after last year’s devastating bushfires.
‘Even after the destruction of thirty-eight per cent of our national parks and a third of koala habitat in which up to forty per cent of koalas burnt to death, the NSW Berejiklian Government continued to allow the loggers in.
Huge outpouring of grief
Ms Faerhmann said there was a huge outpouring of grief for the animals that died from everyone in this country. ‘Koalas need trees, so the clearing and fragmentation of their habitat needs to stop.’
The group say that despite the precarious plight of the koala, the timber industry has put massive pressure on the NSW National Party leader John Barilaro to continue to water down policy designed to protect koalas and their habitat, and in September last year the Nationals threatened to cross the floor unless the Liberals agreed to their demands to weaken protections for koalas – the Liberals surrendered.
The Tweed Greens and Dr Nola Firth are committed to saving our precious koalas and will work tirelessly to stop any NSW Government policy which would further strip their protection. ‘We urgently need the new SEPP 21 cover for the entire Tweed Shire, not just for koala population that live on the coast,’ said Dr Firth.
‘Two-thirds of our koala habitat is on private land and this habitat urgently needs stronger state protection. Tweed Shire Council also needs to keep its koala protections. Taking away council oversight will further reduce koala protection on private land.’
Cate Faerhmann said that if we want koalas to survive, we need to be informed. ‘We need to know what actions to take in order to respond to the proposed changes to ensure that koala habitat is protected and expanded.’