Over the weekend I spent several hours on the phone to United States attorneys about the Koala Protection Bill. As you know AKF has wanted this for many years and I am now convinced that it is essential. When I met with the lawyers face to face a few weeks ago, we identified some of the potential issues that were not relevant to Australian legal conditions and researchers have now evaluated that for me. It was a great discussion and I now have greater clarity about how the Bald Eagle Act came to get the Bald Eagle off the Endangered Species List. It took 50 years, but it got there. It got there because there was determination and I can assure you AKF has that determination.
Even though the Koala is now listed under the EPBC Act, I know there are major flaws in it's ability to protect koalas. I have learnt about some major projects that have been approved prior to the listing. I am sure it is all legal but I really do not understand how environmental legislation can actually give an approval to someone that is going to damage large amounts of habita t before they have done it and from what I gather, no environmental evidence has been given. It is so frustrating to realise that even though cutting trees down is a "threatening process", that it does not always "trigger the Act" to stop it. I see this as fiddling while Rome burns. Clearly there are always loopholes, otherwise the Koala wouldn't be in this mess in the first place.
Tonight in our country on a programme called Four Corners, there will, yet again, be another programme that shows the plight of the Koala. It is called "How Much Can a Koala Bare?"
After nearly 25 years of operation, the AKF knows that the Koala cannot bare much more and this is why we are completely dedicated to a new piece of legislation that must, and I mean must protect the koala habitat. Our slogan No Tree No Me - is so important and we must not forget that it should be as simple as this concept. Don't cut the trees down in the first place.
One of the things that really impressed me with the Bald Eagle Act discussions was the fact that there is a "state of mind" clause. Basically if a person destroys a habitat with an intent to do so, the legislation can come into force because of the "state of mind" of the person who knocked the habitat down. I love this and I am sure the koala people reading this Diary will be able to imagine some of the people who have had a "state of mind" that did not take the koalas into consideration at all.
I am not going to say much more now until I see the programme tonight, but I have a feeling that it will just reinforce that the koala needs our help.
Join the Koala Army - it's primary mission is to enact a Koala Protection Bill