‘Documents acquired by National Parks Association under freedom of information, shows the Government’s own experts have confirmed that the Great Koala National Park is the most important public land in NSW for koalas.
“The documents confirm koala reserve proposals are right on the money, and confirms that the government’s reserves contain hardly any koalas”, said Ashley Love a spokesperson for the Bellingen Environment Centre.
“The current Governments failure to conserve local koala populations is also highlighted by its abandonment of substantial wildlife crossings for the proposed Coffs Harbour bypass,” Mr Love added.
“The Coffs Harbour-Toormina– Boambee local koala population is one of the thirteen koala sub-populations that make up the proposed Great Koala National Park. It is a very important koala sub-population for the coastal fringe but with an estimated population of less than fifty and under a high threat of extinction it needs all the help it can get,”
“The Government should restore the wildlife crossings to the highway bypass proposal to retain western corridors for the local population. It should also acquire Koala habit and corridors on lands under the threat of development between Coffs Harbour and Sawtell to strengthen the southern corridor for the local population” added the BEC spokesperson. Other community reserve proposals on the north Coast, like Sandy Creek near Casino, Bulga-Lansdowne near Port Macquarie and Wang Wauk and Wallingat near Port Stephens are also supported by the government data as hugely important.
Other key findings from the government study included that just 14 per cent of koala populations (called ‘hubs’) are currently protected. Most hubs (86%) are located on private land and state forests and are therefore threatened by logging, clearing and development.
The proposed North Coast intensive harvest zone on State forests between Taree and Grafton, that will see large areas of forests clear felled, contains 33% (>5,000ha) of all hubs in state forests according to an analysis of the data released.
The North Coast of NSW will be a climate refuge for koalas, so protecting habitat there is of paramount importance to the future of koalas in NSW as urban development on the north coast and in south-west Sydney is a serious threat to many koala populations according to the government studies obtained.’
The above is a Press Release from the Bellingen Environment Centre – Friday 28 September 2018