EDO NSW has made a submission to the NSW Upper House Inquiry into koala populations and habitat in NSW.
There are significant deficiencies in current NSW laws in relation to the protection of koala populations and habitat. The ongoing concerns of experts and the community have not been addressed by the introduction of the NSW Koala Strategy or the stalled review of the Koala SEPP. Major reforms to biodiversity and land management laws and the renewal of RFAs and IFOAs have weakened environment protections, including for koalas, and there are concerns that current proposals to remap old growth and rewrite PNF Codes will do the same.
The strongest legal protection for koalas under current law would be to reserve designated protected areas. We strongly support proposals from koala experts for additions to the National Park Estate that specifically target koala habitat. We also strongly support incentives for private land conservation, with significant investment going to landholders to manage and protect koala habitat on their properties. Funding management of koala AOBVs would be a critical improvement.
Our recommendations identify a number of overarching areas where urgent law reform is needed, and provide specific recommendations for amendments to key pieces of legislation, regulations and policies.
Until our laws are strengthened to truly limit or prohibit the destruction of koala habitat, koala populations and their habitat will continue to be at risk and koala numbers will continue to decline in NSW, possibly to the point of local extinction.