NSW government's response to koala inquiry released

Future outlook: Koalas face a range of threats from habitat loss to dog attack, disease and bushfires.

Future outlook: Koalas face a range of threats from habitat loss to dog attack, disease and bushfires.

Koala champions have criticised the state government's response to an Upper House inquiry into koala populations and habitat.

The state government has responded to the Inquiry into Koala Populations and Habitat in NSW's 42 recommendations.

The government supported 11 recommendations, supported in principle another 17 recommendations and noted 14 recommendations.

North Coast Environment Council vice-president Susie Russell described the government's response as "disappointing".

"I don't think we can have any confidence that this [government response] will have any significant impact," she said.

Ms Russell said the document offered nothing meaningful on a scale across the state to protect koalas.

The future of the koala was dire, she said.


Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams said the NSW government had responded to the Upper House inquiry's final report with the government supporting or noting all 42 recommendations.

"We know we need to act now to secure the long-term survival of this iconic Aussie animal," she said.

"Minister Kean is working with the NSW chief scientist and a panel of experts on a new Koala Strategy that focuses on targeted conservation and investment actions to deliver on our ambitious goal of doubling koala numbers by 2050."

Mrs Williams said she fully supported the government's approach and would continue to work closely with Minister Kean to ensure that the preservation of local koala population was given the highest priority.

Greens MP and committee chair Cate Faehrmann said the government's response to the inquiry indicated it had no intention of acting on many key recommendations made by the committee in order to stop koalas becoming extinct in NSW before 2050.

"This is an extremely disappointing response from the NSW government and shows they have no commitment to save koalas from extinction let alone doubling their numbers by 2050," she said.

"Many of the key recommendations, the vast majority of which were supported by all committee members because they are what needs to be done to save koalas from extinction, seem to have been rejected outright.

"This is especially disappointing because they are all achievable if the government had the will."

NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean said koalas are one of our most iconic animals and we must do everything we can to ensure koalas not only survive but thrive into the future.

"That is why I have asked the NSW chief scientist and engineer to assemble an expert panel to advise on how we can double the state's koala population," he said.

"This advice will be used to develop a new NSW Koala Strategy due for release in the coming months."

Nature Conservation Council acting chief executive Jacqui Mumford said the government's response to the inquiry recommendations was "alarmingly relaxed" about the looming extinction of an iconic native species.

This story Government's response to koala inquiry labelled as "disappointing" first appeared on Port Macquarie News.