$80 Million to Protect Koalas in South-West Sydney
Thursday, September 28, 2023
In a significant move towards wildlife conservation, the NSW Government has allocated a substantial $80 million investment to safeguard koalas and their habitats in south-west Sydney. This initiative is part of a broader $172 million commitment by the government aimed at preserving the unique and iconic Australian marsupial. The funding will be utilised for various projects and endeavours dedicated to protecting and rehabilitating the region's koala population.
Expanding Koala-Friendly Habitats
A pivotal aspect of this conservation effort is the allocation of $48 million from the 2023-24 NSW Budget to establish a new national park along the Georges River. Stretching between Long Point and Appin, this park will ultimately cover an expansive 1830 hectares of land. Communities in the suburbs of Long Point, Ingleburn, Minto Heights, Kentlyn, Airds, St Helens Park, Gilead, and Appin will be the hosts of this exciting decision.
The primary objective of this investment is to accelerate the expansion of the NSW national park system by adding more than 1000 hectares of public land within the next three years. This strategic move will undoubtedly yield long-lasting conservation benefits for Sydney’s largest and one of the state's healthiest koala populations.
WIRES is actively collaborating with the government to ensure that the koala crossings are designed with a strong focus on wildlife and community outcomes.
The NSW Government is dedicating $26 million towards creating koala-friendly crossings in south-west Sydney to protect koalas from the dangers posed by roads. Two of these crossings will provide safe passages for these animals beneath Appin Road, while a third will enable them to cross the heritage-listed canal.
Local Koala Care
Recognising the importance of caring for local populations of koalas, the government is allocating $5.7 million for a koala care facility. This funding will contribute to the well-being and rehabilitation of these iconic animals in their natural habitat.
Quotes from Key Figures
Minister for the Environment Penny Sharpe emphasised the importance of these initiatives, stating, "Koalas are Australia’s most iconic animal and need connected habitat to have any future in Sydney. The NSW Government is delivering on its commitment to protect koala habitat in the city’s south-west, which is home to the only disease-free and growing koala population in the Sydney basin."
Member for Campbelltown Greg Warren echoed these sentiments: "Koalas are a much-loved part of the Campbelltown community. I know local conservation organisations have been concerned about this population, and today’s announcement gives them and the rest of the community confidence."
Peter Stathis, WIRES National Director Government Relations, expressed his optimism about the initiative, stating, "It can help us turn the tide in the decline in wildlife health in this region." This endorsement from WIRES underscores the significance of the government's efforts in protecting koalas and their habitats.
Timely Announcement During Save The Koala Month
The timing of this significant announcement couldn't be more appropriate, as September happens to be "Save The Koala Month." This annual observance is dedicated to raising awareness about the challenges facing koalas and the critical need for their conservation.
The NSW Government's commitment of $80 million towards protecting koalas and their habitats in south-west Sydney aligns perfectly with the spirit of this important month-long campaign. The support from organisations like WIRES further reinforces the importance of such conservation endeavours in safeguarding our natural heritage.