21st June 2017

Hello Koala Lovers,

At a recent Board meeting, we all remembered fondly the input of Dr John Woolcock, the founding Research Chairman of the AKF when we started in 1986.   Dr John, as he was affectionately known always, and I mean always, would ask rhetorically whenever I presented a problem facing the Koala with the following.   “Who is the custodian of the Koala?”

I think about this constantly, particularly as I see habitats continue to go down at a faster rate than I have seen in my whole career.

Last night on TV, researchers said that Australia is clearing land at the same rate as the Amazon. 

I felt a great twinge of frustration because this is exactly what the United States Government said to the Australian Government in 2000 when the Endangered Species Act of the United States, listed the Koala as Vulnerable.   Then in 2012, the Australian Government (12 years later), listed the Koala as Vulnerable under our Federal laws, the EPBC Act, as a result of a Senate Inquiry where land clearing was considered a major threat to the Koala.   So how come the habitats can continue to fall?

Simply because Australia does not value its biodiversity and does not see it as something that must be protected.

Simply because the biodiversity of Australia is at the mercy of whatever Government decides to change the laws always at the behest of industry.

Simply because all laws that purport to protect the environment do not work.

And I think the worst thing of all is because, we, the public, continue to have faith that our Governments, particularly at election time when parties “really see the light” and say they will make the changes that we all know must be made. 

I have lost that faith as readers of my diary will know.   I do not trust our Governments at all to protect the environment and in recent months I also realise that our Australian leaders, maybe even political leaders elsewhere in the world are quite naïve as to the problems facing our every increasing violent world.

Each day I wake to what seems to be even more ghastly news of what we, the people can do to each other when we are angry, frustrated and feel isolated and powerless.  Our thoughts go out to families and friends that have suffered at the hands of terrorism, here in Australia and elsewhere. 

I am lucky to live in a place that is safe and when I go to Quinlans and meet with the bird watchers, who in one day, found over 200 bird species – many of which I have never seen before, it is hard to stay angry or frustrated because there is so much beauty.    One climate researcher recently said he was “beyond depression” and I certainly know that is what has happened to me over the years.  I have turned that sadness into determination.   I am determined to protect the Koala’s landscape and to enact a Koala Protection Act.  Of course I cannot do this without you; our many supporters. 

So back to the original question.  Who is the Custodian of the Koala?   If it is not me, nor you, then who is it?

The definition of Custodian is;  “A person who has responsibility for taking care of or protecting something, or keeping something in good condition”.

That seems easy enough doesn’t it?   So, I am going to say that I think the current person who has the ultimate responsibility to act as the Custodian of the Koala is the Federal Minister for the Environment and Energy (Mr. Josh Frydenberg). 

So if that is the case, why has he not written the Koala Recovery Plan that should have been finished in 2014?

Why is he silent when the NSW and Queensland Governments have draconian land clearing laws?

Why does he not recognise the Koala as important to our souls (not to mention our economy).

I know why, because his current role is Minister for the Environment and Energy and with his recent support of many coal mines (many in Koala habitat), we know that his environment role has taken a back seat, which, ultimately will be the detriment to us all globally. 

Call to action; write a letter to the Minister. His address;  Parliament House, Parliament Dr, Canberra ACT 2600. His email;  [email protected]. Tell him he must protect the Koala.

For those of you that are legally minded, let me know who you think might truly be the Custodian of the Koala – it seems the current custodian is letting the Koala down badly.