Koala asleep in a tree © Jordan Whitt

Koala asleep in a tree © Jordan Whitt

Koala funding must come with stronger nature laws

22 Jun 2021

Keywords
  • environmental laws
  • koalas
  • tree-clearing
  • Regenerate Australia

 WWF-Australia has welcomed a $193 million commitment for koala conservation in the NSW budget, but warned the money must come with stronger laws to protect koala habitat.

The NSW Government today announced more than $193 million in funding over five years as part of its effort to double koala numbers in the state by 2050.

“We’re pleased to see Minister Kean fighting for koalas and supporting the communities and landholders who care for them,” said Dr Stuart Blanch, WWF-Australia Senior Manager, Towards Two Billion Trees.

“This money is very welcome, but without stronger laws to protect koala habitat their forest homes will continue to be bulldozed and logged.

“Protection of unburnt forests following the bushfires is critical for saving koalas and other wildlife, and is at the core of WWF’s Regenerate Australia plan.

“NSW needs a peace deal to end the koala wars. The only way to save east coast koalas from extinction is an agreement that marries stronger habitat protection laws with significant funding for landholders who conserve koala habitat, world-leading data and information, and a network of koala safe havens.”

Last year WWF-Australia revealed that destruction of koala habitat actually increased after the iconic marsupial was listed as “vulnerable” in Queensland, NSW and the ACT.

Today’s budget commitment follows a recommendation from the Threatened Species Scientific Committee that koalas be uplisted as an endangered species in eastern Australia.

Dr Blanch said WWF supported the ambitious goal to double koala numbers on Australia’s east coast by 2050.

“Koalas are the face of our forests,” he said.

“We’re confident we can turn around the sad decline of this Aussie icon, but it will take reform and cross-sectoral partnerships at a scale being called for through our Koalas Forever program.

“We look forward to working across all sectors, especially the government, to restore koala corridors, survey koala populations, and strengthen our nature laws to protect koala habitat.”

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