The National Parks Association of NSW warmly welcomes Opposition Leader Luke Foley’s support for our Great Koala National Park. Mr Foley announced his parties support for the new National Park during a visit to Coffs Harbour on 18th January.
The Great Koala National Park would add 160,000 hectares of State Forest to 200,000 hectares of existing National Parks. There are no plans to incorporate private land into the park, though adjacent landholders could become involved on a voluntary basis to increase protection for the species.
“This confirms what Mr Foley has said since becoming leader of the Labor Party—that the environment would be front and centre on his agenda” NPA CEO Kevin Evans said.
“The Great Koala National Park is the most ambitious of 10 reserve proposals recently put forward by the NPA to protect koalas in northern NSW”
“We recognise that removing logging from some State Forests may impact on local communities, so the NPA also strongly supports Mr Foleys proposal to build a forest interpretive centre on the Princes Highway to offset any potential job losses”
“To ensure that the park delivers real benefits to communities and a transition from forestry to tourism and protected area management occurs successfully, it is vital that careful planning and strategic investment occur in the region” he continued.
NPA Science Officer, Dr Oisín Sweeney added “the Great Koala National Park would protect two of the most important koala populations in NSW, accounting for about 20% of koalas in the state”
“A national park of this scale would dramatically reduce threats to koalas such as dog attacks and vehicle collisions which occur when koalas are forced to move across human-altered landscapes”
“Should this go ahead, NSW can be proud of establishing Australia’s first national park dedicated to koala conservation. The Great Koala National Park would have the same global profile as the Chinese giant panda reserves and the Tanzanian Serengeti”
“That the Great Koala National Park would also protect the most diverse and spectacular eucalypt forests in the country, plus other threatened species like the Spotted-tailed Quoll, just adds to its potential for attracting visitors from around the world” he concluded.