25th February 2013

Last week, the Board and I with our team and trusted volunteers went to Quinlans for a 5 day strategic planning time so we can set our course for 2013 and beyond.

 
Our future is very clear – a Koala Protection Act.
 
Each week when I sit down to write my Diary I find that I have so many things that I can say that are just bad news; koala protection legislation being wound back, dishonesty by our bureaucrats and many of our political leaders and the worst of all people just not listening to what Mother Nature is saying.
 
Since December it has basically rained and in some areas of Australia there has been $2b worth of damage. I lost a huge tree in my paddock and it took 6 men two days to cut it up and mulch it. The wind was so fierce that we feel it rocked the tree back and forwards so violently that it just fell over.   I was standing on my verandah when it went down. A 75 foot giant and if it had fallen a few feet the other way, then my house would have been severely damaged. It has been there for hundreds of years. There is of course a new vista for me and I can see the horizon.
 
Several years ago when I wrote about climate change, a fellow wrote to me and told me that it was none of my business to be talking about such things. That I was the Koala Woman and that I should just stick with saving the Koala. Is all this rain and weird weather part of climate change? I think so. Hundreds of countries have signed up to a treaty (that doesn’t appear to work), but by and large I think most of our senior political leaders in the world believe there is a problem. How to fix it, is the key and where does the Australian Koala Foundation fit into the scheme of things. This was what we discussed at Quinlans and it was terrific to hear and listen to all of us ponder our future.
 
For me, because I was brought up by true blue Australians who loved the writings of Norman Lindsay (who wrote the Magic Pudding), I know that the Koala is such a symbol of Australia that the AKF and our commitment to its protection fits right into the bigger picture.
 
While at Quinlans we discussed the role of Zoos and the future of tourism for the protection of the Koala. What I stated most clearly is that the last Tasmanian Tiger (Ben) lived in a Zoo and he died on the 7th September 1936, 3 months after the Australian Government protected him. Without trees, this will ultimately come to the Koala.  It doesn’t matter how many there are in Zoos right now.
 
So, no more talking about the past. No more talking about what is wrong. We know what is wrong. The Koala is losing the battle against powerful enemies that do everything they can to stop its habitat being saved. The only way forward is legislation that will force those industries to do the right thing and doing the right thing will be hard for some of these folks. They have had their way for a long time and in my view have left quite a mess. Some of you appear to have missed getting my Diary. I don’t always circulate them but please pop onto our website and regularly check. I have felt in the past that we all get so much information that it can be overwhelming.
 
This year, our new strategy. More communication with smaller messages and from many sources.
 
Dave Mitchell as the Cranky Scientist 
Smaller newsletters with key messages
Merchandise catalogues so we can raise the funds to continue our work.
 
With an election in September this year, we will ramp up again your letter writing to our political leaders. They have to know that people around the world care about the future of the Koala and you have done such a great job in the past; getting a Senate Inquiry, getting the Koala listed, but sadly it is still not enough.
 
We cannot do our work without funds – we have never taken a Government dollar and we have set new KPI’s (Koala Performance Indicators) and that is to double our network.  Find a friend, get them to join us.  We can only save the Koala together.
 
Regards,
Deborah