NSW Labor calls for koala to be added to national threatened species list

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The NSW Labor Opposition has today called on Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke to add the koala to the list of nationally threatened species – to protect the dwindling number of koalas left in NSW.

Minister Burke is set to hand down his decision on whether the koala will be added to the list on 30 April.

Shadow NSW Environment Minister Luke Foley was joined by the President of Friends of the Koala, Lorraine Vass, who runs a wildlife rehabilitation group that cares for injured and diseased koalas on the North Coast, and a koala from Featherdale Wildlife Park for the announcement.

"Before white settlement, there were an estimated 10 million koalas in Australia, but today the NSW koala population could be as low as 10,000," Mr Foley said.

"Listing the koala as a nationally threatened species would provide new protections and additional funding to support the rapidly declining koala population in NSW.

"Land clearing, logging, habitat degradation, disease, cars and dogs are just some of the threats facing our national icon.

"Under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, the Federal Environment Minister would have to provide approval for any development that could affect the koala in NSW if it was listed as a nationally threatened species.

"There is an even greater need to protect the koala in NSW, given the O'Farrell Government have completely disregarded their election promise to protect koalas and given the green light to logging in key koala habitats across the State.

"Four weeks ago, I visited the Boambee State Forest near Coffs Harbour and witnessed the devastation of koala feed trees, where Environment Minister Robyn Parker claims 'logging protects koalas'.

"The Boambee State Forest is a key habitat for the largest coastal koala population left in eastern Australia.

"The O'Farrell Government has also refused to stop logging in the State's south east forests, with the Bermagui State Forest currently being logged.

"The Federal Labor Government needs to list the koala as a nationally threatened species to ensure this iconic Australian animal is with us for future generations to come."