Great Koala National Park promised to mid-north coast
NSW Opposition leader Luke Foley has announced Labor will establish a 315,000ha Great Koala National Park on the Mid North Coast if elected Premier in March.
Additional koala reserves at Royal Camp and Carwong State Forests, south-west of Casino, will also be opened under the plan.
Mr Foley made the announcement at the Koala Care Centre in Lismore this morning, flanked by Shadow Minister for the North Coast Walt Secord and Labor candidates Isaac Smith (Lismore), Paul Spooner (Ballina), Ron Goodman (Tweed) and Trent Gilbert (Clarence).
The national park will stretch over 315,000ha inland from Coffs Harbour on 140,000ha of existing reserve, as well as more than 170,000ha of state forest being added to the estate.
Mr Foley said the idea was a first for Australia and was modelled on China's panda reserves, which cover a million hectares of World Heritage-listed bamboo forests.
The park is estimated to contain 20% of the state's 4500 remaining wild koalas, and will also be home to 33 other threatened species including the glossy black cockatoo, spotted-tailed quoll, Parma wallaby, yellow bellied glider, Hastings River mouse and long nosed potoroo.
"When I first learned that the koalas of NSW's north coast are under threat of regional extinction I was deeply troubled," Mr Foley said.
"Something serious needs to be done and it cannot be token. I don't want to tell my grandchildren that my generation allowed the koala to disappear.
"NSW should be leading the nation in the creation of national parks explicitly to protect our remaining koala populations."
Mr Foley said Labor will also prioritise the creation of further reserves to protect the remaining koala populations of the north coast of NSW, including the Tweed Coastal Range.