GUNNEDAH mayor Jamie Chaffey is confident the NSW Government’s koala strategy will have a positive effect on the region.
The optimism follows the release of the NSW Government’s koala strategy on Monday with more than $44 million of funding dedicated to helping protect the native species.
Cr Chaffey said he was pleased to see koalas receiving such support from the government.
“I am excited to be honest that the $44 million will have a flow on effect and I think the commitment they have made is a terrific start,’ Cr Chaffey said. “There has been money committed up and down the east coast of Australia and I am waiting with baited breath for announcements on what will continue to flow into Gunnedah.”
The Gunnedah mayor said council had already set in motion applications to obtain koala-related funding.
“We have applied for some significant funds so we can establish a koala park,” he said.
“That is so we can celebrate the fact that we are the koala capital of the world and it will give our younger residents a chance to be up close with a koala and be able to have the educational facilities in place to be able to discuss preservation.”
Tamworth ecologist Phil Spark did not share Cr Chaffey’s confidence telling The Namoi Valley Independent at a koala field day in Curlewis he had concerns about the strategy.
“It seems to me that the North West, the inland side of the range has not been significantly addressed in the strategy,” Mr Spark said.
“I have real concerns that most of the emphasis is targeted towards the coastal regions and the issues affecting koalas this side of the range are still not being addressed.”
Mr Spark said he would like to see a koala hospital built within the region.
“When I saw the strategy the first thing I thought was it is great to see another facility going up near the coast but we would love to see one on this side of the range,” he said.
“It would be great to see something like that in the region.”