CAN'T BEAR IT: NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley this week announced a plan to establish Sydney's first koala national park.
CAN'T BEAR IT: NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley this week announced a plan to establish Sydney's first koala national park. Marc Stapelberg

Renewed calls for Great Koala National Park

CONSERVATIONISTS have repeated calls for the "immediate" creation of a Great Koala National Park in Coffs Harbour.

Environmental groups say documents recently obtained under Freedom of Information reveal the Berejiklian Government ignored advice from its own experts when mapping reserves for its Koala Strategy.

North Coast Environment Council vice-president Susie Russell said the 24,000ha of koala reserves will do nothing to save the dwindling koala population.

"Had they protected the Koala Hubs that had been mapped by the Office of Environment and Heritage that was uncovered in the Freedom of Information request, they would have given the current real living koalas a fighting chance," she said.

"It would appear the Koala Strategy is more about substituting spin for science and giving it a big budget. All the concentrations of Koala Hubs missed out. The biggest losers being the mid-north coast koalas, that would have been protected if the Great Koala National Park proposal had been adopted."

The strategy includes a $45m commitment from the State Government to tackle the declining NSW koala population, which has dwindled by 26 per cent in the last 15-20 years.

NSW Green MP Dawn Walker claimed the government's new reserves cover only 0.2 per cent of forest experts have identified as core koala habitat.

"NSW's wild koalas are facing a crisis and are on the path towards extinction. Yet rather than protect the areas of habitat identified by their own experts in the Office of Environment and Heritage, the State Government wilfully ignores the science and selects random areas that are essentially bits of forest no longer needed by the logging industry," she said.

"The Greens are repeating our calls for the immediate creation of a Great Koala National Park in the Coffs Harbour hinterland where 20 per cent of NSW's wild koalas are found and at risk from logging operations."

This week Opposition Leader Luke Foley announced a plan to establish a national koala park in Sydney.

The Foley Government have already backed the creation of the Great Koala National Park in Coffs Harbour.



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