Measures to prevent destruction of koala habitat must be a key element of the NSW Government’s promised new planning laws, the Nature Conservation Council of NSW said today following alarming evidence of the decline of the iconic species.
The ABC’s Four Corners program last night highlighted a shocking drop in koala numbers, with rapidly expanding and destructive development identified as a leading cause of the species’ decline.
The government’s new planning laws must strengthen, not weaken, protection for the forests that koalas depend on for survival, said Pepe Clarke, NCC Chief Executive Officer.
“The state government has flagged measures to fast track development, but in the forests that the koala clings to for survival, this could push the species closer to extinction.
Mr Clarke said the government’s recently released Green Paper proposes to repeal a state planning policy that protects koala habitat and open the way for more developments to be approved without threatened species assessment.
“Government must commit to maintaining existing protections for koala habitat, and introduce new measures to reverse the decline of this iconic species.
“Threatened native animals and plants in NSW have a bleak future if the government pursues a development at any cost policy.
“Once the koala is gone, it is gone forever. The actions we take today to protect our threatened native wildlife will return benefits for us all now and in the future,” Mr Clarke said.