Maps for a Minister

Hello Koala Lovers,

I am lucky enough to be sitting at Quinlans, our beautiful Research Station property and I am reflecting on the plight of the Koala; as always.

In recent days there has been a lot of publicity about the Minister for the Environment in New South Wales (one of the states that had horrendous bushfires) Mr. Matt Kean who says he wants to double the Koala population over the next 20 years. There is much excitement, but not so from me.

I have seen many such announcements and of course, if this gentleman has the power to achieve this, then make it so. We have also had the interim report from Mr. Graeme Samuel, and many of you submitted to that inquiry which now says what we already know. That the Federal EPBC Act does not work, which is of course why the AKF wants the Koala Protection Act.

Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley has already said no to many of Mr. Samuel's recommendations. Mr. Kean (same political colour as Ms. Ley) says he will fix it.

In a Senate Report in 2011, the conclusion was that the Australian States that have Koalas, New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia, were incapable of protecting the Koala and why a Federal listing occurred. And now Mr. Kean says New South Wales will be able to achieve this magical goal of doubling the numbers. Then Minister Ley wants to return the power to the States and the merry go round continues.

Government funding for the environment has been slashed and I just hear the same old things from even this maybe truthful and optimistic environment minister. Many have faith in him and my mind is still open. What he will need is maps and today a package will go from AKF showing him how you can identify the habitats that are important (both on Government and private land) and I am hoping he will, unlike many of his predecessors take notice of them.

It is early in the morning here, freezing, and there are Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoos screaming in the background as I write, and in my mind, they are saying, “I wonder if the Minister knows that 80% of Koalas live on private land?” AKF knows and it is why we produced maps in the first place over 25 years ago. Many of the landholders would definitely want to protect Koalas and the natural world, but it will mean changes and of course good ideas like encouraging landholders to be better custodians by way of incentives. Which means money - and most politicians make announcements, but there is often no money!

Did I hear such initiatives from the Minister on radio this week? No, I heard the usual stuff, “more research into diseases,” and where I sit, disease only comes when you are starving to death, and our Koalas are suffering that from bushfires, habitat destruction and huge fragmentation from ghastly developments that are impossible to stop.

The Koala Protection Act would and could stop them and AKF will absolutely continue to focus on making sure it will become law. And of course, the logging, what will he do about the logging that absolutely decimates the landscape?

Private land, like the land I am sitting on is safe. Those “Yellow Tails”, as I love to think of them are safe here because we have no intention of ever allowing their habitat to be destroyed. Isn’t it that simple? Isn’t Koala Beach the example of a housing estate where Koalas and people can co-exist. Do we ever hear the developers talk of building such estates? No, because they are greedy and that greed has allowed our natural world to be destroyed and in part has contributed to zoonotic disease like COVID-19 which has caused such suffering.

I am more determined than ever to have the Koala Protection Act in place federally. I do not trust the states to protect landscapes. I have seen what they have done over these many years and it is impossible to stop. As I look at Twitter each morning, it seems to me that the destruction seems to be increasing while no-one is watching. I do hope Mr. Kean understands what he has ahead of him and that he will review the Koala Habitat Atlas maps with clear intention and hopefully put his politics aside for a brief moment.

The AKF door is always open and has been for 32 years. Only about two Ministers have even walked in through, because our maps tell the truth, not maps that have been created to ensure industry is not impeded.

Thank you for your continued support and I do wish you could hear the noise I am speaking about. Perhaps Shaun, will find an audio for you to hear. Imagine the world without this wonderful noise and of course the Koala.

With gratitude for your continued support of our work.

 

Deborah