19 Jan 2023


The World Wide Fund for Nature-Australia has welcomed the NSW Opposition’s commitment to establish the Great Koala National Park.

The Opposition today pledged $80 million to help create the major koala safe haven on the mid north coast between Kempsey and Coffs Harbour, which would protect approximately 20% of the wild koala population in NSW.

WWF-Australia has been advocating for the Great Koala National Park as part of a program to Regenerate Australia.

WWF-Australia conservation scientist Dr Stuart Blanch said the new national park would help reverse the decline of east coast koalas.

“A major new landscape-scale network of protected areas on the mid north coast is critical to doubling the NSW koala population by 2050,” said Dr Blanch.

“Koala numbers in NSW crashed by more than half between 2000 and 2020 due to deforestation, drought and devastating bushfires."

“The remaining koalas need trees to survive. The best way to save koalas is to save their habitat."

“Creation of the Great Koala National Park is the type of ambitious nature-based solution the world needs to tackle the nature and climate crises.”

Dr Blanch said the new protected areas should be determined based on the best conservation science, habitat mapping, community consultation and economic analyses.

“Consultation on handback of public native forests to Indigenous communities must also be central,” he said.

“The Great Koala National Park could become a global model for nature conservation, land justice, tourism, forest carbon, water production and regenerative economics."

“This is the kind of ambition that Australia needs to achieve the goal of protecting 30% of land by 2030.”

In today’s announcement the Opposition also committed to convening a koala summit to review and refocus the NSW Koala Strategy.

“The goal of doubling koala numbers by 2050 should be central to this summit and maintained through the review of the Koala Strategy,” said Dr Blanch.

Dr Blanch said NSW also needs to transition out of native forest logging to secure a future for koalas.

“It’s time to talk about the future of forests in NSW and what a transition from native forest logging to sustainable plantations might look like,” he said.

“Nearly $300 million in structural adjustment payments, plus around $150 million for plantation establishment, is required to complete the transition from industrial native forest logging to a plantations-based timber and fibre sector across the state, based on costings produced for WWF by Frontier Economics.”

To support WWF-Australia’s program to Regenerate Australia and double koala numbers on the east coast by 2050 visit: Regenerate Australia.