Foley Labor Government to create national parks to protect remaining kala populations

In Parliament | 03.12.16

A future Labor Government will prioritise the creation of national parks that protect the remaining koala populations on the North Coast of NSW. 

Opposition Leader Luke Foley says the dwindling koala populations on the state’s North Coast would be protected in newly created national parks to help stop the very real prospect of koalas becoming extinct in NSW. 

Koala numbers in NSW represent just 10 per cent of the nation’s koalas. 

Mr Foley was speaking at a conference of Country Labor in Dubbo. 

In addition to protecting remaining koala populations, the proposed national parks would become major tourism hubs – similar to China’s world famous panda reserves – and attract thousands of international and domestic tourists. 

Australia’s koala is as internationally recognisable as the Chinese panda and already creates 9,000 jobs across Australia while generating $2.5 billion in tourism to Australia each year. 

Labor has also called on the Baird Government to hold a NSW Koala Summit to bring together experts and all stakeholders concerned with koala protection to plan effective action across the state. 

The summit would see land managers, scientists – including those involved in ground breaking chlamydia vaccination research – voluntary wildlife carers and rehabilitation providers come together to save the koala.  

Quotes attributable to Opposition Leader Luke Foley 

“Labor is not prepared to accept that in a couple of decades from now, koalas will only exist in captivity, in zoos and wildlife parks if we keep on this trajectory. 

“I will prioritise the creation of national parks that protect the remaining koala populations of the north coast. 

“Chinese panda reserves attract tourists from around the world. Despite being as internationally recognised as the panda, no koala reserves have been established here. 

“Koalas benefit the Australian economy and our plan to save koalas will also grow jobs and tourism in northern NSW.” 

Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for the Environment Penny Sharpe 

“Labor’s plan will help ensure our grandchildren will be able to see koalas in the wild on the north coast of NSW in years to come. 

“China’s panda reserves are an enormous tourist drawcard – NSW has the potential to create a similar natural tourism sector.”