Koalas & Logging – information & questions for NSW election candidates

Koalas and logging information and questions for NSW election candidates

In 2012 the Koala was declared a Threatened Species. In June 2020 a NSW Upper House Inquiry found that koalas would be extinct in NSW by 2050 unless governments took urgent action to protect their habitat. Most of the evidence for this inquiry was taken before the 2019/20 bushfires when more than 5,000 koalas died.  Koalas were officially declared an Endangered Species in NSW in February 2022.

Late last year the NSW National Party proposed for the second time legislation to make it easier for farmers to cut down koala habitat. As with the first attempt, an outcry from the public caused some National and Liberal MPs to revolt, and the legislation was dumped. This was referred to in the media as the ‘Koala Wars’.

Habitat destruction is the main cause of extinction. Saving habitat and therefore native forest is key to saving koalas as well as many other native species. The current government supports translocation, (removal of animals to another area), as a way of saving the koala. However, relocated healthy animals face challenges from disease, foreign dietary sources, resident dominant animals, or the challenges which caused the resident animals to die out (often fire or drought caused by climate change). Translocation of koalas also doesn’t address the preservation of other species co-existing in the same habitat.


Environment groups have long called for a ‘Great Koala National Park’, linking about 140,000 hectares of existing national parks with about 170,000 hectares of state forest between Coffs Harbour and Kempsey. NSW Labor has promised to create this Park if it wins government at the election in March but they will not commit to the size until they have conducted their own assessment and research.

However, it is estimated that only 20% of NSW’s koalas live within the proposed Park and 60% are on private land. It is therefore imperative that destruction of koala habitat on private land be prevented rather than made easier (as in the ‘Koala Wars’ legislation).


Campbelltown koalas are uniquely chlamydia free and the largest recovering koala population in NSW. However, they are threatened by existing housing developments and Lendlease’s plans for more projects. The group Save Sydney Koalas is campaigning against further development and for the government or Lendlease to build 5 koala crossings on busy Appin Road where many animals are killed or injured.

Save Sydney Koalas have also campaigned for minimum width corridors of 450m to connect koalas from areas around Campbelltown, Heathcote and the Blue Mountains, creating a healthy gene pool. Koalas have established corridors between the Georges and Nepean Rivers which Lendlease threatens to destroy.

NSW Labor’s election promise is to create a Georges River Koala National Park in public land between Glenfield and Appin. Labor’s policy will include a koala care centre, support for volunteers and protective infrastructure.

The current government has declared a smaller Georges River Koala Reserve of 1,885 hectares to be achieved 20 years from now.


The Narrabri Gas Project and its 30 metre easement for pipelines, will cut across known koala pathways in the Pilliga Forest, the Liverpool Plains and the Hunter.

The Liverpool Plains koala population was thriving, but since the recent years of high heat and drought, it has declined due to the spread of chlamydia. Peter Timms, professor of microbiology at University of Sunshine Coast says a combination of habitat loss and climate change causes koalas to be “chronically stressed,” depressing their immune systems. “All that leads to poor chlamydia response. It gets them from low grade chlamydia infections to more serious disease.”

The NSW government has called in experts to study the Liverpool Plains koala population. A trial of Professor Timms’ chlamydia vaccine for koalas is being conducted.

However, in early February Santos started seismic testing for coal seam gas in the area. Researchers from Sydney University fear this could compromise the results of the vaccine trial. No studies have been conducted to show if seismic shocks induce a stress response or not.


To meet the government’s legislated 43% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 below the 2005 level, Australia will need to reduce emissions by around 15.3 megatons (MT) each year over nine years. That’s about the same annual carbon emissions caused by logging native forests.

Veneers of fast growing plantation timber are bonded together with a glue to create engineered timbers. It looks like timber, can be made to be fire resistant and is stronger and more durable than real wood.


Do you support a ban on logging native forests and transitioning workers to plantations?

Do you support the creation of
              a. Great Koala National Park near Coffs Harbour and
              b. Georges River National Park?

Do you support banning development in koala habitat?

Will you oppose the rezoning of Lendlease Stage 2 of the Gilead development near Campbelltown and call for a review of the approval of Stage 1?

Do you support koala corridors to be a minimum width of 450m across the rivers and creeks of Macarthur?

Do you support the building of 5 effective koala crossings on Appin Road?

Will you engage with your local conservation groups to ensure the survival of local koalas?

Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water – Koala listing under national environmental law

The Great Koala National Park
NSW Labor promises to create ‘great koala national park’ if it wins power.

Total Envirenment Centre Sydney Basin Koala Campaign

Stopping native forest logging is the only way to meet our net zero targets Canberra Times

%d bloggers like this: