The NSW government has agreed to put 106 koala hubs contained within the proposed area for the Great Koala National Park (GKNP) under protection until the establishment of the park in order to prevent logging of these key koala habitats.
Koala hubs were originally identified in 2017 by the office of environment and heritage by analysing koala records in order to determine ‘areas of currently known significant koala occupancy that indicate clusters of resident populations,’ as identified by the Chief Scientist, Office of Environment and Heritage in their 2017 report.
This decision comes after months of protests taking place within the proposed park in order to prevent the logging of the soon to be protected habitats.
‘In May 2023 we identified to Penny that across the north coast there are 2,716 ha of Koala Hubs in compartments identified by the Forestry Corporation for logging this year,’ explained Dailin Pugh from North East Forest Alliance (NEFA).
‘Despite our entreaties, the Forestry Corporation was allowed to log Koala Hubs within the Great Koala National Park in Moonpar, Orara East, Boambee, and Newry State Forests.
‘This was clearly an untenable position, so it is welcome news that Koala Hubs will no longer be logged within the proposed Great Koala National Park, though lamentable that they can go on logging them elsewhere (such as currently in Yarratt State Forest).’
Insufficient action to save koala
Despite this important step towards the protection of our valuable wildlife, the establishment of the GKNP has been pushed back until 2025. This decision has been made much to the regret of Sue Higginson, Greens MP who stated, ‘The Government’s announcement today needs to be called out for what it really is – a gift to the timber industry at the cost of continuing the koala extinction logging and an enormous delay in the delivery of the promised Great Koala National Park.’
The great koala national park includes 175,000 hectares of state forest however, as highlighted by the Head of the National Parks Association, Grahame Douglas ‘Of the 175,000 hectares, we are talking the less than a third of the state forest areas where compartments include koala hubs.’ (ABC News)
‘NPA’s next priority is expanding that protection to the remainder of the proposed Great Koala National Park, especially the habitats and connecting corridors that are so essential to the long-term survival of koala,’ explained Mr Douglas.
Although this represents a key step towards the preservation of koalas as a species, which are currently predicted to be extinct by 2050 in NSW, the North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) has stated that ‘if there is a genuine intent to save koalas from extinction the Government needs to protect all Koala Hubs across NSW and reinstate the requirement for pre-logging surveys to identify and protect all important Koala habitat.’