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: Correction of information
In our last edition, in our item on the upgrade of the Woolgoolga to Ballina section of the Pacific Highway, which is well under way, whilst it is the case that we at FOK are starting to feel the impact on koalas, in fact no koalas have been killed within the active construction works area of the project. Two koalas were captured, with assistance from FOK, for treatment as they were displaying signs of retrovirus, but unfortunately they had to be put down. There were also two records of koala road kills on the existing Pacific Highway between Woolgoolga and Ballina but outside the current construction works area of the W2B project. One was in an area where RMS were in the process of installing temporary koala fencing ahead of the mainline clearing works and the other was just south of Broadwater village.
We certainly appreciate the actions of the various RMS people involved in the project who have either reported to us issues with koalas in and around the Highway construction site, and who have in a number of cases, brought dead or injured koalas to us. Nevertheless, we’re sure that they, like us, are aware that major projects bisecting known koala habitats, do have an impact.
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