Following an independent review into the decline of koala populations by Chief Scientist and Engineer Professor Mary O'Kane, the NSW Government is investing $44.7 million over three years to implement the NSW Koala Strategy.
This funding includes $20 million to secure over 24,000 hectares of land to protect koala habitat. Specifically, the NSW Government will acquire 20,442 hectares of state forest on the Far North Coast and in the Upper Hunter, Central Coast, Hawkesbury and Southern Highlands, as well as transfer 4,096 hectares of state forest on the Mid-North Coast to the national parks estate.
Other key actions in the NSW Koala Strategy include:
- develop a statewide koala habitat database and research impacts of natural hazards and weather events on koalas
- trial a chlamydia vaccine to decrease the incidence of the disease and increase healthy koala populations
- provide wildlife care training for veterinary surgeons and nurses in partnership wtih Taronga Zoo and tertiary institutions
- build a new koala hospital and tourism centre in Port Stephens to provides specialist care for sick and injured koalas
- fix road-kill hotspots across NSW, such as Picton Road in Wollondilly where new fences will be built to prevent koalas getting on the road
- implement community initiatives to boost koala numbers, including piloting koala conservation areas on private land as well as planting new trees, providing water sources, eradicating weeds in existing koala habitats
- pilot an app for communities across NSW to record koala sightings
- create a new single wildlife rescue hotline.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said koala populations have declined in NSW by an estimated 26 per cent in the last 15 to 20 years, and without intervention this level of decline is likely to continue.
“Koalas are a national treasure,” Ms Berejiklian said.
"This strategy will ensure there are far more of them in the wild."