Minister for Environment, NSW Gabrielle Upton,
Premier of NSW, Gladys Berejiklian
Dear Premier and Minister,
I am writing on behalf of the Australian Wildlife Protection Council, a group that’s been in operation since 1969 as a voice for wildlife, and issues relating to their conservation and welfare.
We are horrified and deeply concerned to read a report in the media about annihilation of koala habitats. Freedom of information request by North Coast Environment Council (NCEC) exposed that the state-owned corporation, Forestry Corporation, has conducted “unauthorised” clearing and intensive logging across 74,906 hectares of public native forests between Coffs Harbour and Taree since 2006! So this covert operation, illegal and lethal, has been allowed to continue for over a decade without intervention?
How are we meant to be assured that wildlife in Australia have ANY legal protection or status when such blatant and long-term vandalism is allowed? Surely this can’t be covered-up for such a long time with collaboration between logging industry and government?
NCEC spokeswoman Susie Russell said: “Public native forest has been cleared and converting it to quasi-plantation. What is meant to be multi aged forests, with diverse under-stories, providing habitat for a plethora of native animals, is being converted into younger and younger regrowth where the under-storey is bulldozed bare.”
So public native forests have now transitioned to an industry resource, rather than being “public” and a reserve for rightful inhabitants- native animals?
“Many animals, including koalas, need the resources provided by older trees to survive.” How would we survive if bulldozers were allowed to demolish our homes, and leave us without food or protection? She said that about one in every three hectares of forest cleared was high quality koala habitat, according to the mapping recently released by the Environment Protection Authority.
“Now we can see why koala numbers have declined by 50 per cent on the north coast in the last 15-20 years.”
This is an appalling case, of koala genocide in the name of $$$ – in a country famous and renown as a leading mammal exterminator!
WWF say that once the habitat has been redeveloped, that this brought new threats to the koala, such as more cars, more dogs, “more accidents waiting to happen for koalas.” So “redeveloped” habitat is a grotesque euphemism for vandalism of habitat, of destruction by bull-dozing?
Numbers of koalas are down 53 per cent on average in Queensland, 26 per cent in NSW and in a pocket ironically known as the Koala Coast, numbers have declined by 80 per cent over the past two decades. What sort of nation are we, to just kill off so callously, for short term profits , the animals we are famous for?
WWF has warned of “localised extinctions” if more was not done to stop development encroaching on koala habitats. “Government has to bite the bullet and put in strong protections, not just for koalas but for all our wildlife,” conservation manager for WWF, Dr Taylor, says!
Extinction is not an event, but a process – and each tree cleared, each patch of habitat destroyed, means fewer koalas!
We demand a response to this horrific situation, and ask to put an end to land clearing in NSW. We demand higher levels of protection to all wildlife – especially koalas.. Indigenous wildlife should not have to justify their existence, or be priced out of their homes and lives!!
Vivienne Ortega, secretary AWPC
Eve Kelly, Treasurer
Sheila Newman, Policy adviser, and Evolutionary Sociologist
President, Sustainable Population Australia Victorian and Tasmanian branch
PO Box 556
Dr. Ernest Healy
President, Protectors of Public Lands, Victoria
P.O.Box 197 Parkville 3152