Australian government must save koalas from extinction: expert
Unless the federal government steps up and becomes the legislated custodian of koalas they will face extinction, an expert argues.
UNLESS the federal government steps up and becomes the legislated custodian of koalas they will face extinction, an expert argues.
Australian Koala Foundation CEO Deborah Tabart believes the confusion over who’s responsible for protecting koala habitats has significantly reduced their population.
Ms Tabart says environmental conditions on applications for housing and mining developments vary across levels of government.
Without a consistent standard to protect koalas and their habitats, numbers will continue to dwindle to the point of extinction, she says.
A national standard, enforced by the federal government, is needed to ensure there are clear and enforceable rules regarding developments in areas with koalas, she says.
“Federal government should be the custodian of the koala,” Ms Tabart told AAP.
“They have continually abrogated that responsibility since white settlement.”
Ms Tabart says federal Environment Minister Tony Bourke has deliberately delayed a decision to reclassify the status of the koala to “threatened”.
The higher classification would provide a greater protection for koalas and their habitat, she said.
It would also make approval for mining and commercial developments harder, Ms Tabart said.
“I believe that he (Mr Bourke) is now is trying to work out which koalas not to protect for exactly those reasons,” she said.
“Those coalminers, coal seam gas developers, who are all on record in the senate inquiry saying `Please do not list this species’ .. they fear the listing.
“I believe you can go about your business and protect koalas.”
Ms Tabart said the density of modern housing made it difficult for koalas to cohabit with humans.
“When we weren’t making development from Noosa through Coolangatta, people had koalas in their backyards for the last 100 years,” she said. – AAP