The AKF has hosted a confidential two-day briefing, as a launch of their campaign to enact a Koala Protection Act.
The who’s who of Koala conservation groups from Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria were in attendance.
The briefing, which was held at the Treasury Hotel in Brisbane’s CBD, focussed on the Koala Protection Act; a simple, national piece of legislation that has been written by the AKF, in consultation with legal teams in Australia and overseas.
‘This meeting wasn't to discuss whether or not a Koala Protection Act is needed’ says Deborah Tabart OAM, Chief Executive Officer at the AKF. ‘That has already been agreed. This meeting was to discuss how it will be achieved’.
Ms. Tabart says the Koala Protection Act would see Koalas receive the highest level of protection of any animal species in Australian history, and probably lead the way for other species worldwide.
‘With recent news stories of Koalas being impacted by logging and the secret culls in Victoria, it is clear that existing federal legislation is incapable of providing the level of protection needed to save the Koala,’ she said.
‘Why is the custodian of the Koala, the Federal Government so complacent? Because of too many vested interests and political donations. The Koala has powerful enemies, but the briefing will be the hardest hitting data that has ever been compiled in Australian history. Even the Koala people will be shocked. This information will be the beginning of a roll out of disturbing information over the next 6 months as we head for Save the Koala Month in September.
‘Why was a cull allowed in Victoria? Because somehow, and by sleight of hand, the Victorian Government escaped the federal listing in May 2012. How did they do that? Why did they do that? And how will the Koala Protection Act override that process? All to be discussed,’ says Tabart.
The briefing was a closed session, but Ms. Tabart will be available for comment via phone.
She was Tweeting (@DeborahTabart) from the meeting as plans were outlined by the scientific and legal teams.
One outcome Tabart wanted was for the whole of the group to come together and speak as a united voice for the Koala.
‘Governments are always concerned when a lobby group is united. I promise Federal Minister Mr. Hunt, not one person will leave this briefing believing the Koala is safe from mining, development, forestry roads, dog attacks, disease and will certainly know the tourism industry is at risk of losing its icon,’ she said.