The Great Koala National Park

Why we need the Great Koala National Park

Koala numbers plummeted by a third in the 20 years between 1990 and 2010. That is only three koala generations! We must take action now, not wait for numbers to dwindle further. The Great Koala National Park will protect our national icon.

Currently most koalas in NSW live outside of protected areas. In fact, because our National Park network is biased towards higher, more infertile country, it doesn’t capture well the habitat that koalas prefer – fertile, coastal forests that produce more nutritious leaves.

Logging laws threaten koalas

In November 2018 the NSW government commenced new logging laws called ‘Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals’. The laws reduce protections for forest wildlife, including koalas. One of the worst changes is the introduction of an intensive harvesting zone over 140,000 hectares of coastal forest between Taree and Grafton – covering many of the forests proposed to be included in the Great Koala National Park!

The intensive harvesting zone will see large-scale clearfelling legalised on the north coast for the first time. Because most of the trees will be gone, it’s likely that most of the koalas will be too! The Great Koala National Park offers the government an alternative to this destruction.

Freedom of information documents show that the Great Koala National Park is in the right place!

In mid 2018, NPA obtained documents and data  through freedom of information from the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. OEH had conducted research into where koalas are located (called ‘koala hubs’). Analysis of the data showed that the Great Koala National Park contained 44% of all hubs in state forests in NSW. We are confident that the government data supports NPA’s view that the Great Koala National Park is the most important area of public land in NSW for koalas!

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Benefits to other threatened species

It’s not just koalas that will benefit from the Great Koala National Park! This spectacular landscape hosts lush World Heritage Gondwana Rainforests, some of the world’s most diverse towering eucalypt forests – which NPA has assessed as having World Heritage values – and an array of threatened species including the Hastings River Mouse, Spotted-tailed Quoll, Powerful Owl, Sooty Owl, Greater Glider and Yellow-bellied Glider.

Benefits to the community

We know that nature is the number one reason why people want to visit Australia, and nature-based tourism is worth nearly $20 billion per year to NSW! The koala is our most celebrated species, and The Australia Koala Foundation estimates that the value of the koala to Australia is $3.2 billion per year. They’re just too valuable to lose!

But despite koalas having contributed billions of dollars to Australia’s economy through tourism, little of this money has been directed back into koala conservation. We are at serious risk of killing our golden goose through inaction and complacency.