The Great Koala National Park
The story of the project
Our proposal is backed by extensive research by individuals and organisations on the NSW north coast including the Bellingen Environment Centre, Clarence Environment Centre, Nambucca Valley Conservation Association Inc., the North Coast Environment Council and the North East Forest Alliance.
This spectacular landscape hosts lush World Heritage rainforests, some of the world’s most diverse towering eucalypt forests, and an array of threatened species, such as the Hastings River Mouse, Powerful Owl and Spotted-tailed Quoll. By establishing the Great Koala National Park we would be protecting not only our iconic koala, but the ecosystems and species that share their home.
Why we need the Great Koala National Park
Despite the global status of the koala as the second most recognised animal in the world after the Giant Panda, no national conservation reserve has been set aside to ensure the species long-term protection. By contrast, China has established a national park covering one million hectares of bamboo forest to protect their Pandas.
Large and well-managed protected areas remain the single most effective tool to conserving species and their habitat. The Great Koala National Park, which forms part of a strategic koala reserve plan, is the best chance for our koalas to have a secure future in NSW.
In addition to protecting our national icon, the Great Koala National Park will serve as a haven for a wealth of other threatened and native species and protect the towering forests in which they live.
But it’s not just our environment that will benefit. A Great Koala National Park will also provide long-term, sustainable economic and cultural benefits to surrounding communities such as Bellingen, Coffs Harbour and Dorrigo. In addition, the park will provide less visible but vital benefits, such as safeguarding water supplies and carbon storage.
The new park will contribute to the conservation of key species and habitat forming part of the Great Eastern Ranges Initiative (GER), one of the world’s largest conservation projects. GER is working with communities and organisations to reconnect 3,600km of land from Victoria to Far North Queensland. The Great Koala National Park, together with the other parks in our reserve plan, will make a particularly important contribution to two of GER’s priority partnership areas, the Border Ranges Alliance and the Jaliigirr Biodiversity Alliance.
How the funds will be used
This will include:
1. Assisting with the development of a transition plan for the native forest industry.
2.Commissioning an economic analysis of the park proposal.
3. Continuing to raise awareness of the plight of koalas amongst the broader Australian public through social and online media, the creation of educational videos and media engagement.
4. Applying for grants to conduct additional on-ground survey work.
5. Holding meetings with key politicians and conservation organisations.
$15,000 – $20,000
– Establish ecotourism partnerships to lead tours through Great Koala National Park
– Host a forum to engage community, tourism and recreational stakeholders in the development of the park.
$20,000 – $25,000
– Donation of $5,000 to support the conservation of the koala in other important locations on the Far South Coast and central west
– Funds to support the planting of habitat and feed trees for koalas on private land by landholders and/or local government efforts.
Aspirational $1,000,000 goal
– Purchasing of key parcels of land identified as core koala habitat in the Coffs Harbour government area.
Some of my other work
In 2012, with public donations we mounted one of the largest and most successful community campaigns in recent times against the government’s proposal to allow unsupervised recreational hunting in our national parks. Last year, our Sydney Marine Park campaign met with success after both the NSW Greens and NSW Labor demonstrated their support for the park, and NSW Coalition committing to conducting a study into new conservation areas for the Sydney region. To view some of the other campaigns we are currently working on visit www.npansw.org.au
Another key challenge will be to ensure that the National Parks and Wildlife Service are provided with sufficient resources to effectively manage the new park. Part of our work will be to continue to work closely with, and advocate for the department to ensure they get the resources needed.
For more information visit www.koalapark.org.au