Koala Park Advocacy Group Meets Parliamentarians

Independent MLA, Alex Greenwich, addresses the group. (Mark Graham)

IN no uncertain terms, members of parliament have been told to stop logging in what is proposed as the Great Koala National Park.

Representatives of twenty international, national, state, regional and local conservation groups convened at Parliament House in Sydney on Wednesday to deliver their message.

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The Great Koala National Park Advocacy and Negotiation Group (GKNPA&NG) presented a communique to State Parliamentarians urging the government to halt logging in the proposed Great Koala National Park (GKNP), begin the transition of workers involved in native forest logging to other industries, involve First Nations communities, rehabilitate damaged koala habitats and establish the GKNP.

Ashley Love, creator of the concept of the GKNP, said, “The outer bounds of this world-class conservation reserve extend from Yuraygir National Park on the coast in the north to the Guy Fawkes River and New England National Parks at the edge of the New England Tableland to the west and to the coastal plain of the Macleay River in the south”.

“All credible koala experts tell us this reserve is essential to ensure the survival of the endangered and steeply declining koala and to avoid its extinction,” he said.

The Great Koala National Park Advocacy and Negotiation Group says it applauds the NSW Government for its commitment to establishing the GKNP, but is dismayed that logging operations appear to be accelerating in areas vital to the establishment of the GKNP.

It also said that the GKNP supports 20 percent of all wild koalas in NSW and that both State and Federal Labor Governments have promised to protect koalas from extinction.

The group’s meeting, on the garden deck of Parliament House, began with a recorded message from well-known Gumbaynggirr Elder, Uncle Micklo Jarrett, and was followed by short speeches from a number of the advocates.

Politicians then expressed their support, and included Greens MLC, Sue Higginson, Independent MLA, Alex Greenwich and Nationals MLA, Geoff Provest.

Convenor of the GKNPA&NG, Mark Graham, said, “we are very grateful that we have so much parliamentary support across the political spectrum for the Great Koala National Park”.

By Andrew VIVIAN

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