Friends of the Koala outright condemn the controversial NSW Government’s Local Land Services Amendment (Miscellaneous) Bill 2020 which has passed the NSW Lower House and is currently awaiting a final vote in the Upper House on the 11th November.
The changes proposed by this Bill will remove important protections for koala habitat and will further facilitate excessive and inappropriate clearing – a major step backwards for koala protection in NSW.
The recent Parliamentary Inquiry into koala populations and habitat found that without effective intervention koalas will become extinct by 2050 in NSW. While Hon Ben Franklin MLC commended our work for koalas during the public hearing for this Inquiry, he is supporting this Bill – a Bill that could condemn koalas to extinction.
If this Bill passes it will:
- Give free rein to Private Native Forestry and double the duration of PNF operations from 15 to 30 years. If the bill becomes law, even if a forest is identified as core koala habitat it will remain unprotected from clearing for agriculture or logging.
- Freeze the amount of koala habitat that can be protected in Comprehensive Koala Plans of Management, meaning that over 99% of koala habitat on private land in NSW will never have protection.
- Allow more clearing to take place in environmental zones – undermining the protections offered by E-zones. Removing their ability to require Development Application for land clearing activities
These changes are clearly inappropriate given the plight of koalas after the devasting drought and 2019/2020 bushfire season and that loss, modification and fragmentation of their habitat is considered the key threat to their survival. This Bill is designed to benefit developers and agri business, without any consideration for the value of our forests and the incredible biodiversity they support.
We absolutely cannot allow this Bill to pass, we must act now to protect koalas and their habitat before we lose them forever.
We urge people to email members of the Legislative Council in the Upper House and voice your concern now. Below is a draft version that can be personalised.
Dear Member of the Legislative Council,
I am writing to ask you to vote against the Local Land Services Amendment (Miscellaneous) Bill because it puts the future of our koala populations in jeopardy.
The government has stated it wants to save koalas from extinction, even double their numbers over the next 30 years, but this bill pushes them closer to the brink.
In 2017, the Office of Environment and Heritage advised the Environment Minister that less than 1% of koala habitat on private land was protected, and recommended the government “exclude additional core koala habitat” from clearing.
The LLS Amendment Bill before parliament would freeze protected koala habitat. Meaning that over 99% of koala habitat on private land in NSW will never have protection.
Under current rules, if councils identify core koala habitat, after a process of consultation and approval, this land can be protected from clearing and logging. This bill undermines that process.
Tens of thousands of koalas perished in the Black Summer bushfires. Now is not the time to take a step backwards on the protection of koala habitat.
Please reject this bill and ensure koalas continue to have a home in our state.
Please email the above draft letter to all the Upper House Legislative Council Members listed below.