OPINION

Minister Matt Kean meets with Great Koala National Park representatives

Photo: Jay Cronan
Photo: Jay Cronan

Representatives from the Great Koala National Park Steering Committee recently met with the NSW Environment Minister, the Hon. Matt Kean MP to advocate for the immediate suspension of all planned and active native Forest Logging activities within the proposed Great Koala National Park boundaries.

With so much koala habitat destroyed in the recent fires, all koala habitat is vitally important, and the unique forests of the mid north coast are now home to the most important populations of koala in Australia.

Remarkably many of our forests remained unburnt.

Kevin Evans and Ashley Love outlined to Minister Kean that a return to logging of these forests would be the nail in the coffin of already endangered koala populations.

Our very real concerns are that Forest Corp are preparing to move back into our local native forests to clear fell koala habitat.

Minister Kean was enthusiastic about the Great Koala National Park proposal in stark contrast to his four ministerial predecessors, who held firm on Coalition opposition to the idea.

However despite his personal support for the GKNP, internal opposition from the National Party will see meaningful measures to protect koala habitat off the table.

What we are likely to see instead is a continuation of limited government assistance to rehabilitate burnt koala habitat in some areas.

Sadly, strategies like this are far from the decisive action we need if koala are to avoid extinction in NSW.

Large connected and well managed national parks have proven to be the most effective conservation strategy we have to stem biodiversity decline.

Conservationists remain confident that community support for the Great Koala National Park will inevitably influence the NSW Government.

If the Federal Government list the koala as an endangered species, the NSW State Government will be under significant pressure to implement conservation plans to protect them.

The GKNP is well placed to be the nations best bet to save our national marsupial icon.

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