Thursday 9 May 2024


The situation of koalas in NSW has been of major concern for years with fears the species could be extinct in the state by 2050.  This fear is not surprising as the state koala population is declining rapidly. It fell by a third between 1990 and 2010.

The main threats to koala survival have been habitat loss and disease. The devastating fires of 2019-20 made things worse.

The election in March 2023 brought the expectation that koalas would at last be given a better chance of avoiding extinction – at least in the area between Kempsey and Grafton - because of the new Government’s promise to establish the Great Koala National Park (GKNP). 

The GKNP proposal seeks the addition of 175,000 ha of publicly-owned forests to existing protected areas to form a 315,000 ha reserve over five local government areas – Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour, Bellingen, Nambucca Valley and Kempsey.

Progress towards fulfilling the election promise in the year since the election has been minimal.  In fact, koalas and their habitat have suffered because the NSW Government is allowing Forest Corp to continue logging in the areas which contain prime koala habitat.  Just how much of this important habitat will remain is a matter of great concern. And this is a major reason for the rise in activity by forest campaigners who are appalled at what is happening.

Concern about koalas and the accelerating biodiversity crisis has been growing in the general community as well as with scientists and conservationists.  The Australia Institute recently published an open letter to the Minns Government calling for the end of logging in public native forests and koala habitat.  It was signed by more than 100 political leaders, academics, environment and climate experts. 

It called for action on creating the GKNP, ending logging in public native forests, and abandoning support for and plans to develop carbon credits associated with NSW forests. Attached was a petition asking supporters to add their names to the open letter.

It concluded with “No delay. No excuses. No carbon offsets.”

-        Leonie Blain

 Published in the "Voices for the Earth" column in The Clarence Valley Independent , April 24, 2024.