Before the Black Summer Bushfires, the koala in NSW was already listed as vulnerable and even then, conservation groups believed its status should have been upgraded. The bushfires killed at least 5,000 koalas and destroyed and fragmented much of their habitat. A recent parliamentary inquiry found that without serious intervention, koalas in this state could become extinct as soon as 2050.
Yet the clearing of koala habitat for development, agriculture, mining and forestry has continued at a rapid business-as-usual pace and last week the government removed modest protections for koala habitat to permit unchecked clearing. This will not just put the koala at risk, but at least a thousand other animal and plant species.
I opposed the bill and again called for the establishment of the Great Koala National Park, a moratorium on native forest logging and an independent comprehensive scientific assessment across the entire network of koala habitat. My speech: > HERE.