Hello Koala lovers,
Thank you for the comments about my last Diary and I think those of you who wrote to the Prime Minister or tweeted to Minister Ley have made a difference. The AKF has been invited to a workshop with Minister Ley which will cover:
- an overview of the Government’s bushfire response including details of the $50 million interim recovery package
- presentations from Koala experts on what we know about the bushfire impacts on Koalas and their range
- an opportunity to hear from participants about the work they are undertaking
- A Ministerial Roundtable to discuss opportunities for working together in supporting Koala recovery efforts.
What I will do is table our Koala Habitat Atlas maps because I believe they could play a vital role in the recovery of bush land in Australia. Until you have a national mapping standard that covers all Koala landscapes, I do not think you can really compare “apples to apples”. Each State currently has either no mapping, poor mapping, mapping waiting to be done, or mapping that has been created so it does not upset the development industry.
That said, I do want to say that I am going with an open mind and hope the Minister is genuine in that she wants AKF to be involved in the long road ahead. And it will be a long road – that is for sure.
Sunday night on TV there was the most heart-warming of shows; showing the volunteers around the country that rescued, cared or are still rehabilitating Koalas and other species caught up in these ghastly fires. So much destruction, and suffering, but there was one image of about 20 little joeys all sitting together, wide eyed and beautiful waiting for their gum leaves. It did make me smile and it does give hope; that is for sure. But then you have to ask, what future do those little fellows have? Will they go back into safe landscapes that will not be logged in a “business as usual type approach”.
This is what I fear the most.
That is why the Koala Protection Act is important. Although it will be fantastic to plant trees, and start revegetating landscapes, the key right now is to protect existing forests. There is nothing in this invitation that makes me think that the industries of Australia will have any more scrutiny placed upon them even after all this outpouring of love for the Koala. This is where the AKF will definitely be needed in the coming months and although I do not think this is the forum for tabling the legislation, I will make it clear this is our top priority.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity of attending on your behalf and I will report back after the meeting.
So many of these meetings go on behind closed doors and at least I will be in there listening.