North Coast

Politics wins over Koalas: Great Koala National Park bill defeated 

Politics has once again won out over the future of koalas in NSW with the Government and Opposition voting against a Greens bill to establish a Great Koala National Park on the mid-north coast to protect koala habitat at threat from logging says Cate Faehrmann Greens MP and koala spokesperson

Outgoing Liberal MP Catherine Cusack while speaking in support of the bill revealed the deals done by the Liberal and National parties during the so-called Koala Wars last year.

“This bill was a massive opportunity to begin making the gains in protecting koala habitat which are absolutely essential if we are to stop koalas becoming extinct before 2050. It’s incredibly disappointing that all government and opposition members, except Ms Cusack, voted against the bill,” said Ms Faehrmann.

“Unfortunately Labor voted with the Government to stop the creation of the Great Koala National Park meaning the vote was lost 30 to 7. With Labor’s support tonight, this bill would have passed the Upper House.

“As a result of Ms Cusack, once again, crossing the floor to vote in support of koalas we had an opportunity to get some of the best protection for koalas in place that this state has ever seen. But it wasn’t to be.

“Catherine Cusack showed courage and integrity tonight and demonstrated that she will continue to use her position to do all she can to get better laws in place to protect koalas and their habitat. She has prioritised saving koalas from extinction over the self-interest of the Liberal Party and I commend her for that,” said Ms Faehrmann.

The National Parks and Wildlife Amendment (Great Koala National Park) Bill 2021 would have: 

  • Gazetted 175,000 hectares of state forests, adding them to existing protected areas to form a 315,000 hectare protected area on the Mid North Coast, protecting an area that is home to around 20 per cent of the NSW koala population
  • Required the government to develop an economic, conservation and tourism plan for the ‘Great Koala National Park; and
  • Required the government to develop a transition plan, including a structural adjustment package, for forestry workers

A University of Newcastle report found the Great Koala National Park would generate $412 million in visitor expenditure and create 9,810 full-time-equivalent jobs.

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