A community forum in Coffs Harbour on April 28 will give federal election candidates a chance to publicly state their position on the proposed Great Koala National Park (GKNP).
The forum will coincide with public hearings by the NSW parliamentary inquiry into the future of native forestry in the Coffs Harbour and Grafton region on April 28 and 29.
NPA CEO Gary Dunnett said the GKNP proposal was a critical step in the transition from unsustainable exploitation of public native forests to conservation and community benefit.
“We’ve been advocating the creation of new national parks for more than 60 years. We’ve never had a more compelling case for a new park than we do for the Great Koala National Park,” Mr Dunnett said.
“This proposal is a chance to protect the largest surviving koala populations in NSW and ancient Gondwanan forests.
“It also offers exceptional nature-based tourism experiences, massive amounts of carbon sequestration, and numerous community benefits.
Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian said: “Koalas are on track to become extinct by 2050 unless we take decisive action.
“The loss of koalas would be a monumental loss not just for NSW and Australia, but for the whole of humanity.
“To avoid that, habitat protection is key. You can’t have koalas without koala trees, so the best thing we can do is protect koala forests from development.
“The Great Koala National Park proposal is a critical step we must take to ensure species survives for generations to come.”
Forests Inquiry Visits Mid-North Coast
The NSW Legislative Council’s Portfolio Committee No 4, which is investigating the “long-term sustainability and future of the timber and forest products industry”, will visit forests next week on the Mid-North Coast identified for inclusion in the proposed GKNP.
Mr Dunnett said: “The fact the committee is visiting shows the NSW Parliament is taking the idea of the Great Koala National Park seriously.
“But koalas and conservation are not just NSW issues—the future of these forests is a matter of national and international significance.
“The community forum provides those who seek to represent our interests in the Commonwealth Parliament the chance to tell their community whether they are prepared to stand up for the future of koalas.”
Report: Australia’s first national park for koalas projected to generate $1.2 billion in economic output and 9,800+ jobs, February 2021, Professor Roberta Ryan, University of Newcastle.
Forests for All: Case for Change, May 2018, NSW National Parks Association.
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