10 February 2017

Hello Koala Lovers,

The last few weeks since the team and I returned from our holidays has been very busy. There are links below to all the letters the AKF staff have written to various politicians about our concern for the Koala and its habitat:

Letter to NSW Environment Minister, the Hon. Gabrielle Upton

Letter to Federal Environment Minister, the Hon. Josh Frydenberg

Letter to Qld Deputy Premier and Planning Minister, the Hon. Jackie Trad.

They are lengthy and show our immense knowledge about the problems facing the Koala and sadly these letters show that there is absolutely no political will to save the Koala. The strength of industry and their political donations is just too strong.

Currently there are community consultations going on in New South Wales and I imagine they will start too here in Queensland.  I note too that Victoria also seems to be making rumblings about re-evaluating their legislation. These are dark times for the environment. Over Christmas I heard an esteemed scientist say that 85% of the world’s forest have gone and here in Australia 80% of our native forests have been depleted in only 200 or so years. It is truly shocking when you know that trees are the lifeblood for our livelihood. Shade, coolness, and beauty. 

The key message that I want you to take home though is that I think the Federal Government wants to hand back the responsibility of enforcing laws about Koala habitat to the States. In a Senate Inquiry in 2011, the final Report made it clear that the States were incapable of protecting the Koala and the Koala was listed in May 2012 as one step down from Endangered. This is a sorry tale for a species that brings so much joy and not to mention money via tourism to Australia. You have heard all this before.

When a species is listed, what comes next is a Recovery Plan and that was supposed to be written by the end of December 2014. Now, 3 years on, nothing, nothing but community consultations, weak suggestions and game playing that covers up the fact that our environmental laws have been weakened. 

For those of us living in Queensland and have experienced the extreme heat waves, we are convinced that climate change is real and coming fast.  Trees play a vital role in protecting us from heat and Dr Douglas Kerlin, our Chief Ecologist has written a small piece about how important the Koala forests are to our future.

So, what is the solution?  A Koala Protection Act – it will protect Koala trees and Koala forests that house so many species. Our Buddha of the Bush merchandise highlights how important the Koala is, in protecting those species and on Facebook you will find a competition to count the number of species surrounding the Koala on that image.

Mr Darcy is also very pleased with himself because he has recently seen some press clippings that puppy schools are going to train dogs to not hurt wildlife.  "Hallelujah", said Mr Darcy to me this morning while we had our morning coffee.   He has done brave work over these last 7 years and it shows how long it takes for people to finally understand the complexity of saving the Koala.  Well done Mr. Darcy.    

So, my team and I send you greetings for a great 2017.   I am not going to comment on world politics – we are all watching too much TV about all that.  May I send you the beauty of the Australian bush.   Quinlans is looking just amazing and I heard from Ian yesterday that he has removed absolutely every bit of barbed wire on the property.  This means the wallaby and kangaroo now have a complete free range.   Well done Ian – what you have achieved there is truly amazing.  

Don’t forget Quinlans is now open on a Wednesday if you want to visit and help remove lantana (a weed) or water trees that have been planted via Harrold’s Forest, contact us and you will be very welcome.   

I have been so proud to be able to write the truth to the political leaders and I would like you all to write to Mr. Josh Frydenberg and tell him that he must either approve and legislate a Koala Protection Act or while he and his Government procrastinates on that suggestion, insist that he meet his legal obligations as custodian of the Koala under the Federal EPBC Act and write a Koala Recovery Plan.  

It might be worth saying that politicians don’t like species getting listed because along with the legal aspects there is also money involved.  I imagine they do not want to spend the money.   I also noted recently in the press that a species deemed to be at risk by scientists could not be helped because it had not been listed. A ridiculous system and all the more reason for the Koala Protection Act to be listed now.

Thank you as always for your support.   I am as ever dedicated to the mission at hand and will give regular updates on how you can help.  

Fondest regards,

Deborah