3 August 2017
Bellingen Shire Sun-Courier
The Member for Oxley, Melinda Pavey, is wrong when she says that turning more land over to national parks as a part of a Great Koala National Park will “have little if any effect on the health of koala populations”. If this is the case, why then does every major environmental group in the State support it? The National Parks Association; Nature Conservation Council and the political party, The Greens, all support it. Are you telling me they all support something that won’t help Koalas?
Labor’s plan for the Great Koala National Park is common sense. We know Koalas are in trouble and such a park is one of several answers to their survival. The park, covering 315,000 hectares of public land will be a sanctuary. We need one as Koala numbers in NSW, Queensland and ACT have plummeted by a third in 20 years. The area covered by the Great Koala National Park is estimated to contain 20 per cent or 4,500 of NSW’s remaining wild koalas.
The Bellinger River Branch of Labor recently made several resolutions on the Great Koala National Park. We reaffirmed our support for the policy and urged the party to undertake a review, informed by the latest scientific research and community feedback, as to take an enhanced position to the 2019 State Election. I was pleased to be told at last weekend’s NSW Labor Conference in Sydney that the party remains committed to the policy.
The Great Koala Park will deliver positive economic benefits for the NSW North Coast through government investment in habitat restoration, protection and enhancement projects and through the park becoming a tourism asset of interest to domestic and international visitors. We also understand that timber is a renewable resource. When managed responsibly and it complies with the principles of ecological sustainable development – it does deliver ecological, social and economic benefits, most notably jobs.
I have a road sign at the bottom of my street which advises that Koalas are in the area. I hope it stays there forever and a Great Koala National Park is one way of ensuring that happens.
President, Bellinger River Branch