Labor to establish Australia's first Great Koala National Park modelled on China's famous panda reserves

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NSW Labor today announced it will establish the Great Koala National Park on the Mid North Coast – to save the koalas of Northern NSW from extinction.

Labor will also establish additional koala reserves on the North Coast including Royal Camp and Carwong State Forests which are south west of Casino. This area is a key koala habitat in the region.

NSW Labor Leader Luke Foley made the announcement with Shadow Minister for the North Coast Walt Secord and Labor candidates Isaac Smith (Lismore), Paul Spooner (Ballina), Ron Goodman (Tweed) and Trent Gilbert (Clarence) at the Koala Care Centre in Lismore.

The giant new National Park will stretch over 315,000 hectares of public land inland from Coffs Harbour from the Macleay River near Kempsey to Woolgoolga – and will encompass 140,000 hectares of existing reserve, with over 170,000 hectares of state forest being added to the Nationals Parks estate.

The creation of the Great Koala National Park is an Australian first – and is modelled on China’s internationally famous panda reserves.

In the State’s north, the koala is under serious threat – with loss of habitat, disease, road accidents and dog attacks sending the population plummeting.

Koala numbers in NSW, Queensland and ACT have plummeted by a third in 20 years.  Under NSW law koalas are listed as vulnerable to extinction.  Koalas in northern NSW and Queensland are on the Federal threatened species list.

Labor Leader Luke Foley said the Australian-first koala reserve will help protect the regional koala population.

”When I first learned that the koalas of NSW’s north coast are under threat of regional extinction I was deeply troubled,” Mr Foley said.

“Something serious needs to be done and it cannot be token. I don’t want to tell my grandchildren that my generation allowed the koala to disappear.

“NSW should be leading the nation in the creation of national parks explicitly to protect our remaining koala populations.

“Labor is proud of its legacy of national park creation and is committed to continuing the task of protecting our native animals.”

Mr Foley said Labor will also prioritise the creation of further reserves to protect the remaining koala populations of the north coast of NSW, including the Tweed Coastal Range.

KEY FACTS: 

  • Labor will create the Great Koala National Park – 315,000 hectares of public land inland from Coffs Harbour.
  • The Great Koala National Park will be an Australian first – modelled on the international famous panda reserves in China.
  • In China, reserves covering 1 million hectares of the panda’s bamboo forest habitat have been established and provided with World Heritage listing.
  • Koala numbers in NSW, Queensland and ACT have plummeted by a third in 20 years.
  • Habitat loss caused by land clearing and urban development has resulted in koalas disappearing from 75 per cent of their former range.
  • The Great Koala National Park is estimated to contain 20 per cent or 4,500 of NSW’s remaining wild koalas.
  • The Great Koala National Park is also home to 33 other threatened species including the glossy black-cockatoo, spotted-tailed quoll, parma wallaby, yellow bellied glider, Hastings River mouse and long nosed potoroo.

Labor's Great Koala National Park