Our core business is conserving koalas and preserving and enhancing their habitat. An important part of this is educating the community about what’s happening that affects koalas, participating in and supporting relevant campaigns and research, and advocating or speaking up for them.
Save Ballina’s Koalas
For the past 12 years we’ve co-sponsored this campaign with the Ballina Environment Society and our partner, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). Unfortunately, despite the huge opposition locally, nothing persuaded either the NSW or Federal Governments to move the route for Section 10 of the Pacific Highway Upgrade proposed by the NSW Roads & Maritime Services (RMS) away from the nationally significant Lower Richmond koala population.
However, the campaign hasn’t been entirely in vain. There has been a significant change in the RMS’s attitude to the importance of the koala population and to community expectations for its protection. But the job’s nowhere near done. Regrettably, numerous management actions contained in the Koala Plan of Management give cause for grave concern and are being closely documented for the public record. Rest assured the fight to save Ballina’s koalas will continue with close community scrutiny to ensure the RMS complies with all aspects of the approval.
Friends of the Koala will work with RMS, as we have done to date, sharing our knowledge and data whenever requested. We believe this will provide a better opportunity to keep the RMS project team informed of our concerns and to present the case for review where we believe it’s warranted. Watch this space and also Save Ballina’s Koalas’ Facebook page for breaking news, campaign updates and calls for action.
Campaigns by other community organisations
Many other community organisations are doing excellent work to protect koalas and assist their recovery in NSW. We’re a member group of the state-wide Nature Conservation Council of NSW and NSW Wildlife Council, and are also members of the North Coast Environment Council and the North East Forest Alliance.
We support campaigns spearheaded by other organisations such as the following:
National Parks Association of NSW’s Great Koala National Park at koalapark.org.au
Nature Conservation Council of NSW’s Forest Campaign at nature.org.au/campaigns/forests-and-wildlife
South East Region Conservation Alliance’s Great Southern [Koala] Forest serca.org.au/nature/koalas
Western Woodlands Alliance’s Western Woodlands Koala Park westernwoodlands.weebly.com
Better Planning Network’s Community Charter for Good Planning thecommunitycharter.org
Through our membership of the Nature Conservation Council we support the Places You Love campaign to safeguard Australia’s environmental protection laws placesyoulove.org.
One of the ways we promote understanding and support for koalas in the Northern Rivers is to articulate the concerns of our members and supporters to those who are responsible for implementing government policy or in a position of influence if policy reform or review is needed.
We promote awareness and encourage discussion by bringing issues to the public’s attention through the media and then providing information and advice.
Friends of the Koala’s advocacy work encompasses writing letters and submissions, providing advice by telephone, via the website, in our Treetops newsletter or in writing, issuing media releases, meeting with elected representatives of the three levels of government, addressing local government councils, participating in public meetings and referring enquirers to the most relevant organization.
Advocacy work often involves alliances with other environmentally-focused community groups and we enter into alliances when we assess that it will achieve mutual benefit and greater effectiveness. We’re active in matters ranging from local developments and issues to national policy.
Port Stephens Koalas – Anna Bay NSW
Koala Hospital- Port Macquarie NSW
Wildlife Health Australia
Koala Infectious Diseases Research Group (KIDReG)
Australasian Wildlife Genomics group
Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment – UWS
The Southern Highlands Koala Conservation Project
Science for Wildlife
Land for Wildlife
Sydney Metropolitan Wildlife Service
University of Sydney – Koala Research