RELATIONSHIPS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER.
You might recall that we first partnered with the Great Koala National Park back in 2000. To find out more about how this partnership began and to hear from some of the Gumbaynggirr Custodians and Conservation Group members, you can read more HERE. But we need you to know why this relationship is more important now than ever before...
FEB 2022 – KOALAS ARE MARKED AS AN ENDANGERED SPECIES.
It is unthinkable that our adorable iconic koalas will become extinct by 2050, but that’s the devastating truth. This is why it’s critical that together we continue our relationship with GKNP and support them in protecting the koalas’ natural habitat.
But like us, we sure you’re wondering why, is after the NSW government’s own experts made this dire prediction, they continue to allow broadscale destruction of koala habitat?
80% OF AUSTRALIAN KOALA HABITAT HAS BEEN DECIMATED.
Not intending to get political, but the reality is that the government will tell us that it’s all about revenue and jobs, but ironically jobs in the native forest timber sector have plummeted over the decades due to increased mechanization, overlogging and market forces. Not only that, but our public native forests are logged at an annual loss.
Worse still, NSW taxpayers subsidise Forest Corp (the NSW government’s corporate body responsible for managing public forests on behalf of the people of NSW) to the tune of around $17m annually. Unbeknownst to us, we are paying Forest Corp to destroy the remaining public native forests and koala habitat across NSW and shockingly this is happening right now within the proposed Great Koala National Park. Not only do we lose critical koala habitat, but all the other important values and services that our native forests provide such as carbon storage and sequestration, clean and abundant water, rainfall, biodiversity, recreational and health promotion opportunities, and important Aboriginal Cultural Heritage.
In February 2022 the koala populations in Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory were declared as Endangered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act) 1999. Koalas have gone from no-listing to vulnerable and now to endangered within a decade. This is an unbelievably fast descent towards extinction.
The Government has failed to halt the decline of our koalas through its failure to take meaningful action to prevent habitat loss. The unprecedented bushfires of 2019/20 have tipped the scales even further and only swift and decisive action will now save our koalas. While planting trees and funding koala hospitals are worthwhile actions, they don’t address the root cause of the problem facing koalas right now, every day – habitat loss.
The Great Koala National Park (GKNP) proposal would see a significant proportion of NSW koalas protected in the public native forests where they live. It would provide opportunities for affected timber workers to transition to new jobs in the plantation timber sector or new park system undertaking road and track maintenance, drainage and weed management, tree maintenance and rehabilitation.
There is a win win in this for timber workers and koalas. Koalas get to live and recover their numbers in peace and safety while native forest timber workers who are currently logging themselves out of their own jobs could have the opportunity of working in a truly sustainable sector – National Parks.
The New South Wales Government has a target to double the number of koalas in the state by 2050. This will not be possible without protecting their habitat and the Great Koala National Park will ensure that occurs.
THE HARSH TRUTHS
Here are 6 critical reasons why we need to support the Great Koala National Park…
- The New South Wales koala is at serious risk of extinction.
- Since 2001 koala numbers in NSW dropped by up to 62%.
- 2010 - 2020 saw rapid habitat destruction through logging and land clearing accelerated by the repeal of the native Vegetation Act.
- The 2019/20 bushfires killed an estimated 5,000 koalas and burned 28% of their habitat in northern New South Wales.
- Last year a NSW parliamentary inquiry found that without serious intervention, koalas could become extinct in this state by 2050.
- The NSW Government has a target to double the number of koalas in the state by 2050, but this will only be possible through habitat protection and the GKNP will ensure that occurs.
HOW YOUR TEE PURCHASE WILL HELP
The Great Koala National Park proposal…
- Would be Australia's first National Park dedicated to an endangered species.
- Would add 175,000 hectares of native state forest to existing protected areas to form a 315,000 hectare network of parks and reserves in the Coffs Coast hinterland between Grafton and Kempsey.
- Does not include any plantation estates or private property.
- Would provide immense opportunity to transfer unsustainable logging practices into a sustainable, biodiversity hub and carbon sink that contributes to the wider community and ensures the survival of the koala and other vulnerable and threatened species into the future.
- Would link fragmented forests with high biodiversity hotspots.
- Would provide flow-on benefits for tourism, local businesses, water security, carbon sequestration and for other conservation dependent species.
LOOK AT WHAT WE’VE ACHIEVED TOGETHER ALREADY.
With your support the donations from the 2020 GKNP charity tee have contributed to:
- Development of a Memorandum of Understanding with Gumbaynggirr Traditional Owners of the land covered by the GKNP proposal.
- Engagement of a part time staff member to progress the campaign in line with their Strategic Plan.
- Lobbying of NSW MPs in lead up to the tabling of the Great Koala Protected Areas Bill.
- GKNP Market Stall set up which has allowed the campaign to reach the public.
- Preliminary planning for a new GKNP promotional video to be used in TV advertising in lead up to 2023 State Government elections.
- CB handheld radios for citizen science activities.
Donations from the sale of the tee will fund innovative and highly engaging educational material that will create understanding of the fragility of this pressured environment, urging people to take action that will positively change the course of the koalas’ and our collective future.
FEELING LIKE YOU WANT TO DO EVEN MORE?
Soon the NSW Upper House will debate the Great Koala Protected Areas Bill which aims to see the Great Koala National Park created. The GKNP campaign team are encouraging people to contact Upper House MPs to tell them that they support the GKNP and urge them to support the Bill. Visit koalapark.org.au for information on how you participate in this call to action.