New Biodiversity Laws see Government List all NSW Koalas as Threatened

Catherine Cusack MLC
Catherine Cusack MLC

 

UPDATES to Biodiversity legislation in NSW came into effect last August.

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This legislation allows a species to be listed only once and the change has caused confusion in the community in regards to the Port Stephens koala population.

While locals had been working towards having the local Tomaree Peninsula koala population listed as endangered, the laws changed, and they are still listed as vulnerable under the umbrella of threatened species.

The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage states “The NSW Government recognises the importance of the koala as a threatened species and as an iconic species to the community.”

Catherine Cusack MLC told News Of The Area, “The new laws mean more funding for threatened species including $10 million specifically for buying koala habitat that meets National Park criteria.”

Catherine Cusack believes that the new “single list” system will ensure that Port Stephens Koalas have the strongest possible legislative protections.

She also supports the Chief Scientists recommendation that we have a local approach to stabilising and recoding koala populations.

“I would like to see the local colonies of Port Stephens koalas and Tea Gardens koalas acknowledged as a high priority in terms of research and funding.

“I see an opportunity with the NSW Government’s “whole of government” Koala strategy still being finalised,” she said.

Funding will be available under the NSW Government, Saving our Species Iconic Koala Project, which aims to secure the koala population of NSW in the wild for the next 100 years.

According to the NSW Scientific Committee, Port Stephens’ koalas “are facing a very high risk of extinction in the near future.

Kate Washington Member for Port Stephens said, “We must act; two initiatives which would assist immediately is to buy back the Mambo Wetlands and progress the koala hospital.”

She believes in addition to the Saving Our Species Fund the OEH Priority Koala Habitat fund of $10 million over five years may possibly apply for a buy back of Mambo.

“Given the urgent threat, our koalas and initiatives designed to protect them, they should be a funding priority from either of these sources,” she said.

 

By Marian SAMPSON

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