$10million koala plan slammed by Tweed activist
A TWEED Coast conservationist has labelled a New South Wales Government plan to spend $10 million over five years to protect the state's declining koala population as disappointing.
Environment Minister Mark Speakman announced the plan last month, confirming the money would be used to acquire vital koala habitat as part of a whole-of-government koala strategy to secure NSW koala populations.
Jenny Hayes, president of wildlife advocacy group Team Koala, described the plan as less than adequate.
"It's a start but it's very disappointing,” she said.
Our koalas here on the Tweed are on the brink of extinction and $10m goes nowhere to solving the problem.”
The government announcement followed the release of NSW chief scientist Mary O'Kane's report into the decline of koala numbers across the state with figures confirming a 26% drop in numbers over two decades.
The report makes 11 recommendations, including a primary recommendation for the government to adopt a koala strategy for NSW with the goal of stabilising and starting to increase koala numbers.
Dr O'Kane wrote that some koala populations may not survive, despite efforts to protect them.
Ms Hayes said the Tweed koala population is among those that are in real danger of being wiped out.
A Tweed Shire Council survey in 2011 estimated there were just 140 koalas left in the region and the numbers are thought to have continued to decline since then.
In April last year the NSW Government officially declared the Tweed Coast koala population as endangered.
"They will be lucky to have five to 10 years left here,” Ms Hayes said.
"The government needs to get serious about this or there won't be any koalas left.”