North East Forest Alliance
31 July 2023
Surveys undertaken for the North East Forest Alliance have identified numerous threatened species within an area now being logged in Newry State Forest, within the proposed Great Koala National Park, including confirming the ongoing occupation of a Koala Hub identified by the Government in 2017 as one of the most important areas to protect for Koalas.
It is grossly irresponsible for the Minister for the Environment, Penny Sharpe, to allow this irreplaceable Koala habitat, identified as both a Koala Hub and a Nationally Important Koala Area, within the proposed Great Koala National Park, to be logged, NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said
“Penny Sharpe has taken her hands off the wheel as she drives Koalas to extinction.
“NEFA wrote to Minister Sharpe on 3 April pointing out that within the proposed Great Koala National Park over the next 12 month the Forestry Corporation was intending to log over 1,300 ha in 28 Koala Hubs1 identified by the Office of Environment and Heritage in 2017 for protection as known resident Koala populations of outstanding importance.
“We thought that given their limited extent and outstanding importance for Koalas that it would be easy for her to rule them out for logging
“We provided her with a map showing the location of the Koala Hub in Newry and advised her that it was under imminent threat. A recent assessment by Biolink for NEFA confirmed that Koalas are still resident in this Koala Hub and recommended its protection.
“We also provided her with maps of Koala Hubs in Moonpar, Orara East, and Boambee State Forests that she has since allowed to be logged.
“Koala strongholds are being destroyed while Penny Sharpe stands aside.
“A survey just completed by for NEFA by Bower Books Works in Newry identified five threatened plant species from 40 locations, a Greater Glider den tree, Koala scratches on numerous trees, and significant patches of high quality habitat for the nationally threatened Glossy Black Cockatoo, Koala and Greater Glider.
“Two of the threatened plant species and the Greater Glider den tree require protection under the CIFOA logging rules so we have written to the Forestry Corporation and EPA for immediate action to protect them.
“The fact that these brief surveys have revealed additional threatened species and records highlights the inadequacy of Forestry Corporation’s surveys, and in particular the refusal of Penny Sharpe to require pre-logging surveys for nationally Endangered species such as Koalas and Southern Greater Gliders.
“Logging in Newry State Forest should be halted immediately, the Koala Hub protected, and independent surveys undertaken to identify the area occupied by Koalas and Greater Gliders, and all locations of threatened plants.
“Penny Sharpe is now part of the problem, its time she came part of the solution to avoid the extinction of Koalas” Mr. Pugh said.
1. Koala Hubs were identified in 2017, at the request of the Chief Scientist, the Office of Environment and Heritage analysed Koala records "to delineate highly significant local scale areas of koala occupancy currently known for protection", identifying “areas of currently known significant koala occupancy that indicate clusters of resident populations known as Koala Hubs”.