The koala is under serious threat – loss of habitat, disease, road accidents and dog attacks have seen the koala population in Queensland, NSW and ACT plummet by over a third in 20 years. Habitat loss caused by land clearing and urban development has resulted in koalas disappearing from 75% of their former range. We cannot save the koala with kind words and token actions, we have to act and protect their diminishing habitat.
International scientific consensus confirms that a large national parks system, managed primarily for conservation, is the central piece of an effective biodiversity protection project. Yet Australia has yet to establish recognised reserves to ensure the protection of one of our most important national animals. As well as protecting the natural habitat of koalas, creating a Koala National Park would enable local business to benefit from a sustainable tourism and recreation industry generated by the park.
Labor will establish a Koala National Park so that New South Wales has world-leading protection for our national animal.
The giant new National Park will stretch over 315,000 hectares of public land inland from Coffs Harbour from the Macleay River near Kempsey to Woolgoolga – and will encompass 140,000 hectares of existing reserve, with over 170,000 hectares of state forest being added to the Nationals Parks estate.
Many other countries, such as China, are well ahead of Australia when it comes to the protection of their national animals. In China reserves have been created to protect the Panda’s natural bamboo forest habitat – covering over 1 million hectares and provided with World Heritage listing. Visitors from around the world are being attracted to China’s panda reserves, creating a significant boost to the region economically.