The decision today by Premier Chris Minns and Environment Minister Penny Sharpe to stop logging of public
native forests in high value Koala Hubs in the proposed Great Koala National Park is a logical and welcome
step, however more must be done to urgently protect koala habitat.
The 106 Koala Hubs protected under this announcement have been assessed by expert scientists as of exceptional koala habitat value.
It is such a relief to see the government act to stop these jewels in the crown from being destroyed.
However, these hubs only cover 5% of the Great Koala National Park assessment area – a relatively small
footprint. We need connected protected areas at scale to properly safeguard koalas from extinction. NSW
Labor’s promise to establish the Great Koala National Park is historic and has broad community support,
including in my electorate of Wakehurst. I remain very concerned that between now and the creation of the
park, Forestry Corporation accelerates industrial logging in the region, seeking to exploit the resource while
they can. I call on the NSW Government to accelerate the full protection of the Great Koala National Park as
a matter of urgency.
Earlier this month I visited an area of forest near Coffs Harbour with Federal Independent MP for Mackellar
Dr Sophie Scamps and WWF Australia. I was shocked and disappointed to see the degradation and
devastation that industrial native forest logging leaves behind. There are so many reasons to protect and
restore our native forests – for koalas and healthy ecosystems, for carbon storage, for recreation and
NSW must transition to a sustainable plantation-based sector that supports jobs in regional NSW and ensures
the timber products we all rely on in construction and other sectors of our economy can be produced
Right now, logging of our public native forests is loss-making. With NSW facing significant budgetary
pressures, reforming our logging sector to protect jobs, protect the environment and create a sustainable
plantation-based sector must be a priority for the government.
Today’s decision comes after tireless campaigning by environmental groups, my crossbench colleagues here
in NSW Parliament, and Indigenous people on NSW’s Mid-North Coast. I thank everyone who has advocated
for the government to achieve this important win.