Koalas protected but for how long?
Humane Society International (HSI) today welcomed the Federal Government listing of the koala as vulnerable in Queensland, NSW and ACT. HSI has long been calling for the koala population to be protected nationwide and is therefore disappointed that all koala populations will not be covered by this listing.
““Whilst bolstered protection for threatened State and Territory populations at the national level provides those koala populations with increased protection, national protection is the best chance for long term survival and recovery of all populations,” said Alexia Wellbelove of Humane Society International. “It is therefore disappointing to see these restrictions on recovery being put in place.”
However the protection for the koala may amount to no further protection at all, if the Federal Government agenda to fast-track the disembowelment of Australia’s national environmental protection law, recently bolstered by support from big industry, the Prime Minister, and Opposition, and due to be introduced to Parliament later this year, succeeds.
“Whilst the koala may now be protected in Queensland, NSW and ACT, the sad reality is that the Government agenda to remove green tape means that this protection will sadly amount to nothing,” continued Ms Wellbelove. “The Federal Government agenda to devolve its powers for threatened species to States, will mean that the koala will continue to suffer at the hands of developers. This removal of green tape will allow fast-tracked development in critical koala habitat and make the States the decision makers – a situation which has not worked well for the koala to date.”
HSI believes that the Federal Government must retain control of all matters of ‘National Environmental Significance’ such as threatened species. Failure to do so will destroy indispensable national environmental protection gains that took nearly 100 years to achieve. HSI therefore rejects the proposed reforms of the federal environmental legislation.