Protecting Koalas

06 March 2023


Senator Ayres (New South Wales—Assistant Minister for Trade and Assistant Minister for Manufacturing)

(13:43): Koalas were declared endangered in New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT, but our regional communities are working hard, particularly in New South Wales, to deliver change and to deliver assistance. The Mid North Coast is home to some incredibly industrious and important environmental groups, and I was lucky enough to be able to announce support to them during my last trip to Port Macquarie. The federal government proudly provided over half a million dollars in funding to the Jaliigirr Biodiversity Alliance Inc., the Dorrigo Community Nursery Inc. and Nambucca Valley Landcare's coordinating committee—Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, Landcare organisations and community environment groups working together to map endangered communities, restore critical koala corridors and plant over 5,000 habitat trees.

These projects are run almost entirely by volunteers. It was terrific to spend the morning talking to representatives, including Sally Hunter, Nadia Camatta, Ainslie Ashton and Sue Salvin from those organisations, and it was also wonderful to meet with Sue Ashton and the whole team at the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, who kindly hosted us.

Following the last period of significant infections, habitats being destroyed and the bushfires, koala populations in the eastern states are severely depleted. It is wonderful to see the commitment of those communities to restoring koala habitat. It's pretty hard to imagine—our grandkids and their kids are facing a future without the koala. I'm very pleased that the federal government has been able to put its shoulder to the wheel and get behind this important endeavour.