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Federal Inquiry into the status, health and sustainability of Australia's koala population

See inside for terms of reference and contact details. We also cite some of a contribution from the Property Council of Australia, which urges the government not to put koalas profits and lets them know that it will try to get laws to compensate landowners if development is hampered by koala protection. The council is big on relocation and would probably expect any actions to save the koala to be delayed pending better counting.

See Submissions here: http://www.aph.gov.au/Senate/committee/ec_ctte/koalas/submissions.htm.

The Property Council's submission is big on relocation and would probably expect any actions to save the koala to be delayed pending new counts. The problem here is that the government will probably avoid truly comprehensive statistics, so the community needs to demand these be obtained before any new development. In the end, there is already so much development that blind Freddy could work out that koalas must be threatened and one would suspect that the PCA realises this and therefore expects to have some of its ventures blocked by governments, State and Federal usually supine to its demands. PCA's submission here in pdf form.

Terms of Submission

"Regulatory Issues
If it is found that the koala population is indeed under threat, the five issues outlined below must be considered as part of any regulatory or planning change.
• Preservation of Existing Land Use and Development Rights
If further regulation is seen as the appropriate mechanism, it needs to protect and not interfere with existing land use entitlements and development rights, whether or not further development approvals are required. It is unacceptable for existing land use
entitlements and development rights to be eroded without just compensation. The Property Council cautions against approaches that will see the basic rights of land holders removed without compensation."

Inquiry into the status, health and sustainability of Australia's koala population
Terms of Reference
On 17 November 2010 the Senate referred the following matter to the Environment and Communications References Committee for inquiry and report by 1 June 2011, with effect from the first day of sitting of 2011:

The status, health and sustainability of Australia's koala population, with particular reference to:

1. the iconic status of the koala and the history of its management;
2. estimates of koala populations and the adequacy of current counting methods;
3. knowledge of koala habitat;
4. threats to koala habitat such as logging, land clearing, poor management, attacks from feral and domestic animals, disease, roads and urban development;
5. the listing of the koala under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999;
6. the adequacy of the National Koala Conservation and Management Strategy;
7. appropriate future regulation for the protection of koala habitat;
8. interaction of state and federal laws and regulations; and
9. any other related matters.

For further information, contact:

Committee Secretary
Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600
Australia
Phone: +61 2 6277 3526
Fax: +61 2 6277 5818
Email: ec.sen@aph.gov.au

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Comments

The threat to koalas is described logging, land clearing, poor management, attacks from feral and domestic animals, disease, roads and urban development.. That almost covers all human impacts on native forests!
How are these impacts to be stopped? The population of NSW is not capped, and neither is Queensland's. Without pre-planned wildlife corridors connecting habitats, there is little likely to be done except give token considerations to relocation. Those clearing land are unlikely to check each tree, and there is little way each koala could be accommodated in national parks. The government submissions will mean they can tick the box "community consultation" and justify "business as usual". The public however, can be effective.
A push to ensure koalas are protected in the massive new residential estate at Cobaki has been lost after failing to get support from Tweed Shire councillors.
There has been a lot of talk about koalas at Kings Forest, and a koala plan of management was drawn up, but not much has been done with this site, said Greens councilor Katie Milne said.
She accused them of seriously underestimated and misrepresented what the community's preferred position would be , their deep love for this wildlife and their concerns about the appropriateness of extreme population growth in Tweed with the recent approvals for an extra 31,000 residents. Of course, the people would prefer the koalas than more generic and toxic population growth and ugly urban sprawl. However, money talks louder than concern for wildlife and public interests!
The cash-flow created by all the new residents will give a short term injection of funds into the area and give it an economic boost, but in the long term, and environmental "capital" value will be destroyed, and an iconic native animal will be gone!

Koala protection lost in Tweed council

However, the Greens still fail to have a population policy. Without one, they will have serious inherent lack of integrity and contradictory policies. This will hamper their polling success.