Tomorrow at 10.15 a.m. (Wednesday 23rd May, 2012), Senator Bob Brown and Senator Larissa Waters will announce their intention to table a Koala Protection Bill in the Federal Parliament of Australia. This is the first step towards the Koala’s very own piece of legislation that will be nationwide and designed uniquely for them. This is a huge step and the beginning of either a short or long journey to its fruition, which would be a Koala Protection Act. Basically, a Bill is introduced into Parliament and our Parliamentarians can either agree; yes or no to its passing. Once the majority says yes, it becomes an Act.
As you know, the AKF has wanted a National Koala Act for nearly twenty years and to be frank, I feel like I have wasted over 12 years as we have tried to meet the narrow criteria of the IUCN guidelines and the EPBC Act. Even with 25,000 dead koalas in South East Queensland and thousands of others dead in New South Wales, it took a Senate Inquiry to basically “force” the Minister to make a decision which still leaves Victorian koalas unprotected. Honestly the system is broken. By the time you have met the criteria of these ridiculous guidelines, the species has to be on the brink. It is quite ridiculous really.
As we have seen, there are politicians already wringing their hands about the Koala listing and unless there is a specific legislation to protect them, the AKF can see politicians of different persuasions using the Koala like a political football. Shocking really when you think of what the Koala does for Australia. Every tourist, every celebrity, even the Pope has cuddled one.
So, we are hoping you will give AKF support over the coming months (and hopefully not years), to encourage our leaders to endorse the passing of this legislation.
Regards and thanks.