Koala Protection in NSW: how our most valued native animal is abused

Gary Dunnett, Executive Officer, NPA NSW

The koala populations of NSW were decimated during the first quarter of the 20th century by commercial hunting for the fur trade.  Many local populations were pushed towards or into extinction.  We’re now nearly a hundred years since the peak of commercial hunting and many areas, especially in the south-eastern corner of the State, remain largely bereft of koalas.  In other places, especially those with limited accessibility, such as the military lands in southwestern Sydney and the dense forests of the northeast, koala populations staged major recoveries after the cessation of commercial harvesting.   

Unfortunately, that recovery had largely come to an end by the 1970s as habitat loss from coastal development, agricultural clearing and forestry, along with increasing mortality due to collisions with motor vehicles, dog attacks and infectious diseases, all took their toll on local koala populations.  The result is that, as we approached 2021, the NSW Upper House Inquiry into the future of koalas in NSW concluded that, without significant change in the way we protect koalas and their habitats, the species will become functionally extinct (ie incapable of maintaining viable local populations) in NSW within the next 50 years.  

State of Forests report contains dubious climate claims

The National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) has questioned the use of industry research and the exclusion of independent science in the 2018 State of Forests Report, and is concerned that the report appears to be an effort to lay the ground for the burning of forests for electricity.

Case study 5.2 ‘carbon dynamics of managed native forests in Australia’ concludes that removing logging does not reduce carbon emissions from forests, and that replacing fossil fuels with wood for electricity generation can help tackle climate change. Both claims are highly contested domestically and internationally.

Lack of Commonwealth accountability means forests destined to go the same way as rivers

Following briefings with Commonwealth and NSW environment and primary industry agencies, environment groups are more convinced than ever that the newly minted Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) will facilitate the continuing decline of threatened species, unsustainable destruction of forests and the loss of important benefits they provide to communities.