We welcome the decision in the New South Wales Upper House to refer a bill that would have further weakened already inadequate safeguards for the state’s koalas to an inquiry.
The Local Land Services Bill is a major step back in environmental protections. It dismantles many hard-won protections for koalas and their habitat by paving the way for more excessive land clearing.
“We are pleased this bill hasn’t been pushed through parliament and that it will be referred to a committee for inquiry,” said Rebecca Keeble, Regional Director at IFAW Oceania.
“Our koalas have been through so much over the past 12 months after the catastrophic bushfires decimated their population in NSW.
“It’s time to put koalas and their habitat first – before it’s too late.”
In March this year, IFAW commissioned a report which found NSW koalas are facing an immediate and significant threat of extinction. The report, prepared by Biolink research group, estimated conservatively that 6,382 koalas perished in the fires - nearly 15% of the population - and that 62% of the population has been lost over the past 20 years.
On the basis of this report, IFAW submitted a nomination to the NSW Threatened Species Scientific Committee to provisionally up-list the state’s koalas from Vulnerable to Endangered on an emergency basis.
This nomination was co-signed by Friends of the Koala, Humane Society International (HSI) and Port Macquarie Koala Hospital.
IFAW has received overwhelming support from the global community in response to its petition calling for their status to be up-listed with more than 150,000 emails from people across the world including France, Germany, the Netherlands, United Kingdom and the United States.
“Koalas are an international and national icon and their significant is recognised across the world,” Ms Keeble said.
“We must do more to protect this iconic species – or face losing them forever.”