26th June 2014

I just counted up how many emails I have sent to either the Federal Minister, Mr. Greg Hunt ([email protected]) or his senior staff over the last few months.

It is approximately 30 and they cover a range of issues where the Koala is at risk. I believe we have had 3 standard letters from the Minister, a few replies from him directly with “cheers”, or “I am increasingly engaged on this”.

To be truthful that is more than you get from some Ministers and after nearly 26 years in this job, I have dealt with a lot of staff and Ministers.

Up to and during the Senate Inquiry, I actually sent nearly 3000 emails to several bureaucrats. Not to mention what our Koala Campaigners sent.

And still the Koala is not safe.

Since I last wrote Douglas, Dave and I have written 3 pretty heavy duty submissions on offsets (which says if you knock down Koala habitat you can offset it somewhere else), changes to the Federal laws and yesterday about a mine that will seek to destroy nearly 1000 hectares (2000 acres) and worse still try and translocate nearly 300 Koalas.

If you take the time to read them (all at our News and Events here), you will see that they are thorough, scientific and because I am the person who has to sign it, filled with the truth on why the Koala is in trouble. 

So, does anyone really believe that if you wander into the bush, find nearly 300 Koalas living quite happily, noose them, drag them from their trees, put them in boxes, put them into a truck and then drop them somewhere else that they are going to “live happily ever after”.

So, does anyone think that any company is actually going to find the budget to fund this happy little venture. And worse still, once they are on that truck and they are dumped into a new habitat, that the existing Koalas in that bush will allow them to stay. Then of course these Koalas wander around in confusion and are vulnerable to starvation, dog (often wild dogs in some country), or killed on the road.

It absolutely outrages me and yesterday I decided that it was my last day of writing anything to anyone in our Government.

They truly have no idea that the Koala is in such dire straits (even though it is listed as one step down from endangered) and worse still probably actually don’t care.

When I rang a senior bureaucrat yesterday to tell him that Douglas and I are now writing essays that actually prove the system is completely broken, I did actually hear a faint concern.  Good sign! 

But, I know fully well that concern will get squashed, sooner than later and it will be replaced with concern about how embarrassing it could be for the Minister (that is pretty much how the world operates these days).

I asked him, after he had said “keep those emails coming”, why he does not reply to me (he has never done that, not even once) and  he had no answer. He just keeps the same old mantra that the federal laws are in place and that they have to work within the guidelines (which are now being watered down).

I explained that a Koala Protection Act would be simpler, easier to manage and that I am absolutely shocked, that he and the Minister don’t even want to speak with us to even ask what we are thinking.

I also explained that his Government had absolutely no data to tell us we are not right about the plight of the Koala.

That was the moment I decided no more.

This position has been coming for months, probably even years and when I was at Quinlans the other night, a local person said “I have to go home to write a submission on offsets”.    This man, a person who loves the bush has absolutely no qualifications in science, law or planning.  He is just a good ordinary citizen who has planted thousands of trees, lives a good and peaceful life and wants to make the world a better place. I know that his submission will be completed ignored.

Around this time, Dave Mitchell sent me this;  Dave has a great sense of humour (we all do) and I think it sums up this Diary. 

Submission: (noun) futile attempt at changing the status quo. Often accompanied by copious amounts of logical reasoning and unassailable evidence which becomes lost in a pile of other equally worthy submissions. Often associated with panic, vis. "we have to get that submission in!"

So, what will we do instead of spending all this effort on submissions.  Join the Koala Army hereand take instructions.

Finally a thank you to a woman called Angela who donated $7000.00 yesterday. Rose was not in the office and I just checked emails so make sure that all was well and I saw her donation come through.

Angela, you and thousands of others help me and my amazing team to keep going and let me tell you, the energy I save from this useless submission writing will, I assure you lead to a Koala Protection Act.

Fond regards and thank you.

Deborah Tabart OAM
Chief Executive Officer
Australian Koala Foundation