Speaking in an opinion piece in the weekend SMH, former Greens leader Senator Bob Brown said that before he left the Senate he would be introducing a Koala Protection Bill. An idea from the AKF’s Deborah Tabart, Sen Brown confirmed the listing of koalas as vulnerable would make no difference in Victoria and South Australia where it doesn’t apply, won’t stop developments like coal seam gas or the ‘watering down and palming off of federal environment laws to the states’.
In a recent press release the NSW Government indicated that being part of the Implementation Team for the National Koala Management Strategy their ‘priorities for koala conservation in NSW take in the north coast, south coast, Southern Highlands, Southern Tablelands, Gunnedah and Pilliga regions.’
When referring to the ‘south coast’ koalas the implementation team’s last report (2010) indicates ‘ . . . Ongoing negotiations in south east regarding habitat in Mumbulla, Murrah and Bermagui State Forests . . . Options (are) limited by commitments in Regional Forest Agreements, Forest Agreements and Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals’
What they propose is ‘ . . . Implementation of strategy to minimise overlap between areas where fuel reduction burns are undertaken (particularly in Strategic Fire Advantage Zones areas) in the Bermagui, Murrah, Mumbulla and adjacent private forests and koala activity cells delineated in 2007-9 koala survey’
Now five years or a ‘koala generation’ after the surveys began and as it seems pretty clear negotiations are over, the NSW Guv is proposing ‘ . . . to convene a community koala summit, in conjunction with the NSW Conservation Council, to clearly identify current koala conservation issues.’
Should the NCC and affiliated groups be open to clearly identify the issues, endorse the management necessary to both stop the decline and get the koala population increasing, B Brown’s proposed Koala Protection Bill could help make it happen.