Local koala experts question the NSW Government's koala strategy while locals call for more habitat for Gunnedah

UP IN THE AIR: Local koala experts remain unsure what benefits Gunnedah will see from the state government's koala strategy. Photo: File Photo
UP IN THE AIR: Local koala experts remain unsure what benefits Gunnedah will see from the state government's koala strategy. Photo: File Photo

AS local experts continue to question the NSW Government’s koala strategy, residents have signaled more local habitats are needed for the native species.

In a recent Fairfax Media poll, 44 per cent of voters indicated they would like to see the government strategy provide more land set aside for koala habitation in Gunnedah.

The poll also indicated 25 per cent of voters would like to see a local koala hospital set up and another 25 per cent said they would like to see a new tourism park in the koala capital.

Local koala activist Martine Moran said she was surprised by the results of the poll.

“I think it does show that people are aware that koalas are in need of assistance in a number of ways,” she said.

Ms Moran said she was unsure what benefits the region would see from the strategy.

“I’ve said it before and I will say it again, a koala hospital on our side of the range should be a priority,” she said.

“While it’s great the strategy is helping the koala species as a whole, I really think something needs to happen here because koala numbers are falling in our region.

“Truthfully our local koala population is facing possible extinction if nothing is done, so hopefully we get something from this strategy.”

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Questions about the benefits of the state government’s koala strategy were reignited following Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson praising the strategy in Parliament last week.

“The environment minister, Ms Gabrielle Upton, has had a significant role to play in looking after our koalas across the state, and in particular in the New England North West, with Gunnedah being the koala capital of the world,” Mr Anderson said in Parliament on Wednesday.

Gunnedah mayor Jamie Chaffey said he remained confident the koala capital would see specific benefits from the strategy.

“Council has submitted an application for funding for a koala park in Gunnedah,” Cr Chaffey said.

“We are currently waiting on a response in regards to that funding and are hopeful of seeing a positive outcome.”

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