Cate Faehrmann Greens MP and spokesperson for the Environment & Wildlife visited the Great Koala National Park Visitor & Information Centre at Urunga today to announce that the Greens will introduce a bill to establish the Great Koala National Park on the Mid North Coast of NSW.
The National Parks and Wildlife Amendment (Great Koala National Park) Bill 2021 would:
- Gazette 175,000 hectares of state forests, adding them to existing protected areas to form a 315,000 hectare protected area on the Mid North Coast, protecting an area that is home to around 20 percent of the NSW koala population.
- Require the government to develop an economic, conservation and tourism plan for the ‘Great Koala National Park; and
- Require the government to develop a transition plan, including a structural adjustment package, for forestry workers
- A University of Newcastle report found the Great Koala National Park would generate $412 million in visitor expenditure and create 9,810 full-time-equivalent jobs.
“The number one threat driving koalas to extinction is habitat loss which includes logging in core koala habitat. Establishment of a Great Koala National Park would permanently preserve koala habitat which is currently subject to logging while making the mid-north coast a massive drawcard for tourists,” said Cate Faehrmann, Greens MP and spokesperson for the Environment and Wildlife and Chair of the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into Koala Populations and their Habitat.
“If Labor and the Government have the courage to support my bill, the people of NSW will benefit from a unique protected area that is not only great for koalas, but also for the region. The other parties should be jumping at the chance to support something that protects the environment while creating almost 10,000 jobs over 15 years.
“The Premier says she wants to be the Premier who saves koalas. If she’s fair dinkum she should support my bill for a Great Koala National Park.
“If there are two things the people of NSW want to see more of, it’s jobs and koalas. The Government has now been gifted a project that does both. I urge them to not reject it for the sake of continuing to prop up the dying native forest logging industry,” said Kevin Evans, spokesperson for the Great Koala National Park Committee
“If this Government is going to meet its commitment to stop koalas from becoming extinct before 2050 then it must invest in bold initiatives like the Great Koala National Park now.
“It’s time to put aside entrenched political opposition to Koala habitat protection on public lands to save our national icon. We call on all MPs to vote for the GKNP, 2021 Bill,” said Mr Evans.