December 2010

Only one week to go until holidays, and before we go I wanted to get something to you about the upcoming Senate Inquiry as I promised.

I have asked an independent consultant to advise AKF on how we, and others, should go about making sure we get all the right information in front of the Senate Committee.

She has spoken with people in Canberra and I now have a clearer picture of how it will work.

So, formally it is called 'The Inquiry into the status, health and sustainability of Australia's koala'.

Anyone has the opportunity of submitting and I would like to encourage everyone to make your voice heard for this Senate inquiry. This needs to be done and lodged by 8 February 2011. The more submissions the Senate Environment, Communications and the Arts References Committee receives in relation to the risks to our koala population, the better our chances of having the koala deemed “vulnerable” in accordance with the EPBC Act. If we are to protect the koala we must act now! I believe this is our best opportunity and I encourage you to make your submission online at the following address:
http://www.aph.gov.au/Senate/committee/ec_ctte/koalas/index.htm.

You will also find example submissions from previous inquiries on this page:
http://www.aph.gov.au/Senate/committee/ecita_ctte/completed_
inquiries/index.htm
, - select an enquiry, then click 'Submissions Received'.

To assist you with this process, I have attached a template which you are welcome to use to help structure your submission. You don’t have to use it but this is how I will be structuring AKF’s submission.

Please be very aware that you are unable to share submissions with each other until they have been accepted by the Senate Committee, and that your submission will be made public. So be very careful with your words and make sure that you also identify potential solutions for the problem. There is no point us telling the same old stories, that the koala is in trouble. Everyone knows this really. What we must do is be compelling about why it is in trouble and more importantly, what is needed to change that. We must also encourage the Senators to listen to us for possible future actions and solutions. If you require further assistance with your submission please contact:

Committee Secretary
Senate Standing Committee on Environment and Communications
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600 Australia
Phone: +61 2 6277 3526
Fax: +61 2 6277 5818
Email: [email protected]

On a lighter note, the AKF partnered again with the Asia Pacific Screen Awards this year and we were able to take koala Ruby (Rocky’s daughter) along to meet the star studded film makers from the Asia Pacific region.

Jack Thompson, Ruby, Deborah Tabart

It was a dream come true for our new camera-man JM to meet and mingle with Directors, Producers and stars. I must confess it is a joy to be involved in this event and our team had the opportunity of meeting the famous Australian actor Mr Jack Thompson again, and the privilege of meeting Lord and Lady Puttnum (the Producer of Chariots of Fire and the Killing Fields). Lord Puttnum's speech was one of the most amazing I have heard and interestingly enough, as he spoke, I felt he could have been speaking about our work. What he spoke about was being “excellent”, being “committed”, being “determined” and most importantly, being “self-reliant” in everything you do. I know our team have these qualities. Lord Puttnam is a concerned and dedicated conservationist. Watch the video here.


Lord Puttnum, Ruby, Lady Puttnum, Deborah Tabart

Lord Puttnam said you use film to "Let me see what you have seen”. I reflected that this is what we have done this year. Going bush with a camera-man, showing all of you worldwide what we have seen, has, I think, changed things for the better.

The Senate Inquiry will be a powerful start to the New Year. Next week, just before I go on holidays, I will send my final diary for the year, and it will include a video collage that JM is putting together, of what we have seen.

Talk then. Deborah

P.S. Rocky could not attend the Asia Pacific Awards because he was too busy 'on mating duty' at Dreamworld. He sent his daughter Ruby.