Cate Faehrmann supports Pine Creek Forest Bridge

Bongil Bongil National Park is home to almost 500 koalas.


GREENS Legislative Council Member Cate Faehrmann has strongly supported a ‘forest bridge’ between Bindarra and Bongil Bongil National Parks by arguing for them in Parliament.

Ms Faehrmann told the Legislative council that the Black Summer fires resulted in a 70 percent decline in koala populations across six locations in northern New South Wales and may have killed more than one‑third of koalas in New South Wales.

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She pointed out that a parliamentary inquiry into koala populations and their habitat found that koalas will be extinct before 2050 if their habitat is not protected, resulting in the Environment Minister setting a goal to double koala numbers in New South Wales by 2050.

She questioned how this could be achieved if there was no updated koala strategy and if koala habitat was still being bulldozed across the State.

Ms Faehrmann said, “Like so much other koala habitat in New South Wales, Pine Creek State Forest near Coffs Harbour is under imminent threat from logging.

“It is still standing only due to the passionate work of locals to protect it,” she said.

She said that it was fortunate for Environment Minister Matt Kean, and for koalas, that “the Minister finds himself in the position of being the environment Minister and the Treasurer at the same time” and that he now has the opportunity to support a proposal developed by the Friends of Pine Creek for a forest bridge conservation area that offers both significant habitat and a koala corridor from the sea to the mountains.

The proposal would see 2,500 hectares of land added to Bongil Bongil National Park from parts of Tuckers Nob and Pine Creek State forests.

Ms Faehrmann said that the land sits between Bongil Bongil and Bindarri National Parks, both of which have been listed recently as assets of intergenerational significance because they provide such important habitat to koalas and threatened species after the fires.

She said that Bongil Bongil National Park is home to between 400 and 500 koalas and it and the surrounding area are among the few coastal koala habitats that suffered no impact from the fires.

Ms Faehrmann told the Legislative Council that the forest bridge proposal would ensure that the vital koala population can safely move westward to the New England National Park and the Great Dividing Range west of Port Macquarie.

She said that an extensive survey in the nineties showed that Pine Creek had the highest density of known koala records in the Coffs Harbour region.

She praised the Friends of Pine Creek for the work put into the forest bridge proposal and said that, with the looming climate crisis taking a massive toll on our wildlife, koalas need wildlife corridors more than ever before.

Ms Faehrmann said, “I urge Minister Kean to seize this opportunity, open the purse strings and protect this land to prove that his Government was genuine when it said it will take action to save New South Wales koalas from extinction.”


By Andrew VIVIAN

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