Liberal Candidate for Macquarie welcomes increased protections for Hawkesbury & Blue Mountains Koalas

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Liberal Candidate for Macquarie welcomes increased protections for Hawkesbury & Blue Mountains Koalas

Federal Liberal Candidate for Macquarie, Sarah Richards, today welcomed the news that koala protections have increased, following an announcement by Environment Minister Sussan Ley, at Blackheath.

The Morrison Government is boosting the level of protection for koalas under Australia’s national environmental law, declaring koalas ‘endangered’ in Queensland, NSW & the ACT.

“This is wonderful news. The folks of the Blue Mountains and the Hawkesbury adore our koalas and these further protections are most welcome,” Ms Richards said.

“Our Environment Minister has listened to our scientists and citizen scientist volunteers who have worked so hard to help our koalas, especially in the wake of the 2019-20 bushfires.

“I particularly want to acknowledge Dr Kellie Leigh and the team at Science for Wildlife for their valuable work in this space.

“Of course, today’s announcement comes on top of the more than $6 million the Morrison Government has invested in environmental projects in the seat of Macquarie.”

“The work undertaken by the Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute to protect the habitat of the Blue Mountains Water Skin is a terrific example of how federal funding is being put to work on the ground.

"I’ll be continuing to work with locals to see what further practical environmental action the federal government can take in this space

and be advocating on behalf of our community to achieve more positive outcomes,” Richards said.

Richards also described an online report suggesting that she voted for the destruction of koala habitats as “alarmist and untrue.”

“I voted with my Hawkesbury Council colleagues to allow people living in rural areas to clear land to create a fire break if they are threatened by fire,” Richards said. “There are also severe penalties for anyone who abuses these regulations.”

“To my knowledge not a single tree has been cut down and no koalas have been threatened.”

“The report is nonsense.”

Environment Minister Sussan Ley said that the Morrison Government was committing an additional $50 million to koala conservation, protections, and a framework to protect the iconic species, taking its overall investment in koalas since 2019 to $74 million.

“As part of our $200 million bushfire response, I had asked the Threatened Species Scientific Committee to consider the status of the koala,” Minister Ley said.

“The up-listing of the species from vulnerable to endangered is based on that scientific advice and will provide greater awareness and protection, ensuring that all assessments will be considered, not only in terms of their local impacts, but with regard to the wider koala population.

“We are taking unprecedented action to protect the koala, working with scientists, medical researchers, veterinarians, communities, states, local governments and Traditional Owners.

“The national plan developed through scientific advice and public consultation will now go to the relevant states for their final adoption and will help guide state and local government strategies, “Ms. Ley concluded.

The Australian Government is providing more than $74 million to protect the iconic Koala and ensure its long-term health and resilience, including: $47 million to protect and restore important Koala habitat; $8.7 million to support Koala health, genetics research and medical support; and $12 million for the National Koala Monitoring Program.

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