State Government will spend $20 million buying Hunter koala habitat

The State Government will spend$20 million to preservekoala populations in the Hunter through a private land purchase program designed to secure more protected habitat.
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“Essentially, if you own good quality, occupied koala habitat that meets the criteria, the NSW Government is a willing buyer,” Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said

“This initiative is part of the NSW Government’s $44.7m commitment towards securing the future of koalas in the wild, which is the biggest commitment by any State Government to koala protection.”

The announcement follows the government’s sale of the six hectareMambo Wetlands sitein Port Stephens, an area of prime koala habitat, in 2017.

Port Stephens MP Kate Washington labelledthe new announcement as a “a last minute attempt to buy credibility from a government whose policies and actions are putting our koalas at risk of extinction.”

“Current estimates say wild koalas in Port Stephens could be gone within 10 years, but this government is only making the situation worse.”

But Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald said the program would help stabilise, increase koala numbers and conserve populations in the Hunter.

“It will permanently conserve koala habitat in the national parks system and ensure ongoing expert management of this important land,” Mr MacDonald said.

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Port Stephens koalas given $3m boostThreatened Species Scientific Committee has been unable to list the endangeredPort Stephens koalaBerejiklian government changes the law so koalas can’t be listed as endangeredLiberal candidate for Port Stephens Jaimie Abbott thanked the government for itsassistance.

“I continue to advocate for the protection and preservation of koala populations in Port Stephens. The sustainability of koala populations is a key priority for my local community and I look forward to continuing this focus as the next Member for Port Stephens,” Ms Abbott said.

Properties with good quality, occupied koala habitat situated near or adjoining the following areas will be considered:

Gir-um-bit, Myall Lakes, Tomaree, Hunter Wetlands, Tilligerry, Worimi or Wallaroo National ParksKaruah, Tilligerry or Moffats Swamp Nature ReservesTilligerry, Medowie or Gir-um-bit State Conservation Area.Criteria for considering a property for purchase include:

presence of koala habitatevidence of use by koalasgood connection to surrounding native vegetationthat reservation would improve the management of threats to koalas in that locationthe property must also be suitable for inclusion in the national parks systemCommunity groups and other interested stakeholders can also propose land with suitable koala habitat for inclusion in the national park estate.

Expressions of interest will remain open until 6 December 2018.Full details on criteria and locations can be found at:https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/topics/animals-and-plants/threatened-species/programs-legislation-and-framework/nsw-koala-strategy/purchasing-land-with-priority-koala-habitat