No win for vulnerable koala

The Australian Koala Foundation’s (AKF) top executive has launched a stinging attack on the Federal Department of the Environment for what she says will fail to protect the vulnerable koala.

AKF’s Chief Executive Officer, Deborah Tabart OAM, condemns the draft Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act referral guidelines for the vulnerable Koala, stating that the document is ‘shocking’. The AKF has lodged a submission condemning the draft.

‘The guidelines will not even stop koala declines, let alone help increase koala numbers. The document is just shocking; the author appears to have little or no knowledge of how koalas move across landscapes,’ says Deborah.

‘For example, koalas can travel for up to twenty kilometres and the guidelines imply it is only one kilometre. [This is] one of many simple mistakes that will make it much easier for a developer to get what they want – approval to destroy habitat. Goodness knows why they did not listen to the 24 experts they invited to a workshop in 2012. Interestingly enough AKF scientists were not invited; one has to wonder why?’

Australian Koala Foundation is a non-profit organisation founded in 1986, which has grown from a small group of people interested in researching koala disease, to a global organisation specialising in strategic koala research, conservation and community education. AKF is dedicated to the conservation and effective management of the wild koala and its habitat and has created some amazing resources including the Koala Map which is provided free to the public.

‘Time and again it has been proven that the State Governments of Australia are incapable of protecting the koala. A Senate Inquiry concluded as much in 2012. So now it is the Federal Government’s turn to show that they have no interest in protecting the koala and are just happy to give a pretence of helping the species,’ says Deborah.

‘We have little faith that the EPBC Act or these guidelines will achieve much for the koala. Indeed the only reason we have made this submission is to ensure our position is on the record. The only way to achieve true protection for the koala will be to get the Koala Protection Act passed in Federal Parliament. And we will,’ says Deborah. 

The AKF has been trying to legislate for a Koala Protection Act to enable protection for the vulnerable koala. They’ve even enlisted the help of a koala army with this mission. Join up to lend your support. 

Photography: Shannon Plummer

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