Koala Woman Says
The western part of this electorate is too dry and hot for Koalas, there were some on the Culgoa River near the Queensland border but there have been only 3 reports in the last 15 years. There were Koalas around Walgett but these seem to have decreased as well and are now along the Darling River. The Pilliga Forests – the largest forest in inland NSW – once had thousands, but drought and fire have reduced the population by 80% in the last 20 years and Coal Seam Gas wells will have a major impact. There are a few left between Moree and Croppa Creek and we know landclearing has had an effect on this population. Koalas in the Warrumbungles were probably wiped out in the 2013 wildfire. There are Koalas in the Boggabri/Maules Creek area where a new coalmine has commenced construction. They will be gone soon. Climate change is probably the biggest threat to Koalas in this electorate, and in 30 years or so we will be lucky to have any left.
This electorate now includes Gunnedah, “Koala Capital of the World”. For how long? Gunnedah could soon become the Coal Capital of the World. The approved Shenhua coal mine has good habitat with perhaps a couple of hundred Koalas, but this is all lost in the debate about the mine’s potential effects on the “food bowl of NSW”. It is proposed to relocate these Koalas as the mine goes ahead. Where will they be dumped? To “offset areas” which probably already have their fair share of Koalas. Or don’t have enough trees to support any Koalas. Offsets don’t work, and translocations aren’t successful.
I am confident AKF is correct about our numbers and cannot understand how or where government plucked their 12,000 from. The Gunnedah population was halved during a heat wave in 2009, with climate change we can expect to see increases in the number of heatwaves: Koalas won’t have time for the population to recover before the next heat wave hits.
Member for Parkes
Will he Act or Axe?
Estimated AKF Koala Population: 2300-2800
Estimated Koala Habitat left: 47.7%
Estimated Federal Government Population: No data. No opinion.
Listed as vulnerable to extinction under the EPBC Act (May 2012)